Universities in Laos


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About universities in Laos

Laos, known in official circles as the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, with a geographic area of roughly 94,000 square miles.  The sovereign country is bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west, and its capital and largest city is Vientiane. Laos has an estimated population of 6.5 million, and its lone official language is Lao, spoken colloquially by most of the population and used officially in government, commerce, media, and as the language of instruction in Lao schools and universities.

Higher Education in Laos:  The Winds of Change

Higher education in Laos is overseen and regulated by the Ministry of Education.  It’s a system of education that has undergone many positive changes in the last decade, changes that have led to greater accessibility, rapid growth and a higher quality of education.  Many of these changes were introduced back in 1995, and among other benefits, these reforms cleared the way for private institutions of higher learning, which in turn exponentially increased enrollment at the tertiary level.  Since the reforms were adopted in 1995, a total of 14 private Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) were newly established by the year 2000, and an additional 17 were registered by 2005.  The public sector also displayed steady growth during this same time period, doubling its enrollment from 11,250 to 22,984.  The total enrollment in public and private HEIs tripled from 15,217 to 45,684 between the years 1997 and 2005. 

Higher Education in Laos:  Types of Institutions and Programs

The higher or tertiary system of education in Laos consists of three large public universities, five teacher-training colleges and 31 private higher institutions.   All students who have completed upper secondary school and earned a diploma are eligible to apply at any of the HEIs, although many of the institutions do require students to pass an entrance exam prior to admittance, particularly the private institutions. 

The network of institutions that comprise the Lao higher educational system provides academic, professional and technology programs for all eligible students.  Academic programs are offered at both public and private universities.  Students who participate in these programs can earn undergraduate (bachelor), graduate (master) and post-graduate (doctorate or PhD) degrees in a wide range of disciplines, ranging from Accounting to Medicine to Engineering. 

Professional programs, which are aimed at preparing students for career fields important to the Lao economy, offer bachelor’s degrees, graduate diplomas and higher graduate diplomas, all based on the length of time a student participates in the program.  Each successive level in professional education is seen as a greater level of proficiency, which generally translates to higher salaries in the workplace. 
 
Technology programs are supervised and conducted by the Department of Higher, Technical and Vocational Education (HTVED), a governing body responsible for managing, coordinating and monitoring these programs in the higher education sector.  These programs generally span 2-3 years, after which students are awarded a diploma of proficiency in a specific technical or vocational field.  These diplomas are often required by employers and are highly sought by individuals who elect not to pursue a university education.

List of universities in Laos

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Contact: National University of Laos

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Dongdok Campus, National University of Laos, P.O.Box:7322, Dongdok, Vientiane, Laos