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RATCH's scheme helps Lao vocational students

Dec 23. 2014
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By Vientiane Times
Asia News Net

The Ministry of Education and Sports' Vocational Education Department is set to offer another 20 plus scholarships for higher education students wishing to pursue vocational courses next academic year.
Each priority subject will take between two years to study and students will receive a bachelor degree from their colleges or schools upon graduation.
They will bring the trade skills they learned from their studies at the Institute of Vocational Education Development in Vientiane to educate students in their communities.
The plan was revealed at an advisory meeting held in the capital to review the annual progress of the Education for Career Empowerment Project.
The project has been financially supported by Thai-based Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding (RATCH) at a cost of 5 billion kip (Bt20 million) contributing towards vocational training in state-run vocational colleges and schools in Laos from 2011-2015.
Participants at the meeting praised the recent progress of the empowerment project, which generally provides scholarships for students wishing to train as electricians, mechanics and builders.
The newly announced scholarship positions come on top of the 30 students who recently received scholarships in higher level certificates and bachelor degrees plus the over 300 students who have been trained in vocational courses at the six pilot vocational schools and colleges under the ministry.
The RATCH-funded project is a ‘model' for state-private partnership projects which other similar public-private cooperation projects can emulate.
Director- general of the ministry's Vocational Education Department, Nouphan Outsa, said yesterday that this project was designed to address the national educational policy, which focused on educational development in parallel with vocational skill development to produce individuals who could support the country's rising economic growth and foreign direct investments, particularly in the power business.
Nouphan said the project strived to promote educational opportunities for students and educational personnel in the country to help develop their vocational skills for future employment.
He said he strongly believed the support and cooperation from RATCH would help enhance employment opportunities for around 600 Lao students to meet the market's need for skilled labour in light of increasing economic growth and foreign investment.
At present, there are 22 vocational colleges, schools and a vocational training centre operating under the ministry, which can accommodate 15,000 to 17,000 students a year. More than 10,000 students graduated from the 22 institutes over the past year.
Already holding shares in projects such as the Hongsa Lignite and Nam-Ngum II power plants in Laos, RATCH has also funded the purchase of work-related equipment to facilitate better training at various vocational colleges.

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