Education authorities have given approval for some private colleges to raise their status to private education institutes so they can recommence bachelor and higher level courses.
Two institutes, Rattana Business Administration College (RBAC) and Sengsavanh Administration College in Vientiane, have now been given the green light by authorities to resume bachelor degree programmes after provisionally losing permission to do so in the 2013-14 academic year.
The Private Education Promotion Office announced the move at a recent meeting in Keo-oudom district, Vientiane province.
Head of the Private Education Consultant Association, Mr Khamsen Sisouvong, told Vientiane Times “The approved institutes will begin bachelor degree courses next month. They may do this before being assessed by authorities as to whether they can offer other higher level courses including master’s and doctorate degrees.”
“The authorities will monitor the approved institutes for two years to assess whether they are in compliance with the standards set by the Ministry of Education and Sports. If they are, authorities will assess the capacity of other colleges to resume bachelor and higher level courses,” he said.
Mr Khamsen explained the difference between a college and an education institute, saying the latter had higher standards than a college with regard to the curriculum, educational infrastructure, equipment, facilities and teaching skills.
Colleges may only teach higher diploma courses.
However, state and private colleges including schools that wish to offer bachelor and master’s degree courses must be in compliance with the set levels regarding the quantity and quality of teaching personnel.
In addition, all schools must comply with the national standard curricula of the Ministry of Education and Sports.
The meeting in Keo-oudom district also considered assessment of the administration at private colleges across the country to determine their learning and teaching standards.
Participants discussed various issues to be addressed, including college fees and financial administration, private colleges’ policy for teachers, and monitoring the learning and teaching systems of substandard colleges and schools.
The Private Education Promotion Office highlighted the progress made in its work plan last year, which included training on nutrition promotion for teachers in private colleges and schools, and discussed initiatives for 2019.
Officials also monitored the financial operations of private schools and colleges in Vientiane and the provinces of Luang Prabang, Savannakhet and Champassak, and scrutinised the teacher policy at private colleges in Vientiane and in Khammuan and Savannakhet provinces.
There are now four state and private education institutes across the country including the newly approved private colleges in Vientiane.
Of the more than 800 private colleges, 400 are members of the Private Education Consultant Association.