In 2005, the literacy rate in Laos was estimated to be 73% (83% male and 63% female).
Of the many ethnic groups in Laos, only the Lao Loum had a tradition of formal education, reflecting the fact that the languages of the other groups had no written script. Until the mid-20th century, education was primarily based in the Buddhist temple school (wat school), where the monks taught novices and other boys to read both Lao and Pali scripts, basic arithmetic, and other religious and social subjects. Many villages had wat schools for novices and other village boys. However, only ordained boys and men in urban monasteries had access to advanced study.
During the colonial period, the French established a secular education system patterned after schools in France, and French was the language of instruction after the second or third grade. This system was largely irrelevant to the needs and lifestyles of the vast majority of the rural population, despite its extension to some district centers and a few villages. However, it did produce a small elite drawn primarily from the royal family and noble households. Many children of Vietnamese immigrants to Laos—who made up the majority of the colonial civil service—attended these schools and, in fact, constituted a significant proportion of the students at secondary levels in urban centers.
Post-secondary education was not available in Laos, and the few advanced students traveled to Hanoi, Danang, and Hué in Vietnam and to Phnom Penh in Cambodia for specialized training; fewer still continued with university-level studies in France.
The Pathet Lao began to provide Lao language instruction in the schools under its control in the late 1950s, and a Laotian curriculum began to be developed in the late 1960s in the RLG schools. In 1970 about one-third of the civilian employees of the RLG were teachers, although the majority of these were poorly paid and minimally trained elementary teachers. At that time, there were about 200,000 elementary students enrolled in RLG schools, around 36 percent of the school-age population.
An important goal of the Lao People's Democratic Republic (LPDR) government was to establish a system of universal primary education by 1985. The LPDR took over the existing Royal Lao Government education system that had been established in 1950s and restructured it, facing many of the same problems that had confronted previous governments. The French system of education was replaced with a Laotian curriculum, although lack of teaching materials has impeded effective instruction.
An intensive adult literacy campaign was initiated in 1983-84, which mobilized educated persons living in villages and urban neighborhoods to bring basic reading and writing skills to over 750,000 adults. Largely as a result of this campaign, those able to read and write had increased to an estimated 44 percent. According to the United Nations, by 1985 those able to read and write were estimated at 92 percent of men and 76 percent of women ages 15 to 45. Because few reading materials are available, especially in the rural areas, many newly literate adults lose much of their proficiency after a few years.
The decision to establish universal education led the government to focus its efforts on building and staffing schools in nearly every village. Because resources are limited, most schools are poorly constructed—of bamboo and thatch—and staffed by one or two teachers who are paid low wages, usually in arrears. Many village schools have only one or two grades; books, paper, or other teaching materials are conspicuous by their scarcity.
School enrollment has increased since 1975. In 1988 primary school enrollment was estimated at 63 percent of all school-age children. In 1992-93 an estimated 603,000 students were in primary school, compared to 317,000 students in 1976 and 100,000 students in 1959. However, the goal of achieving universal primary education was postponed from 1985 to 2000 as a result of the lack of resources.
Because teachers are paid irregularly, they are forced to spend significant amounts of time farming or in other livelihood activities, with the result that in many locations classes are held for only a few hours a day. Because of irregular classes, overcrowding, and lack of learning resources, the average student needed 11 to 12 years to complete the five-year primary course in the late 1980s. Repetition rates ranged from 40 percent for the first grade to 14 percent for the fifth grade. Dropouts were a significant problem, with 22 percent of all entering first graders leaving school before the second grade. In the late 1980s, only 45 percent of entering first graders completed all five years of primary school, up from 18 percent in 1969.
Performance statistics vary according to rural-urban location, ethnic group, and gender. Enrollment and school quality are higher in urban areas, where the usefulness of a formal education is more evident than in rural farming communities. Isolated teachers confronted with primitive rural living and teaching conditions have a difficult time maintaining their own commitment as well as the interest of their pupils. Ethnic minority students who have no tradition of literacy and who do not speak Lao have a particularly difficult time. Unless the teacher is of the same or similar ethnic group as the students, communication and culturally appropriate education are limited. Because of these factors, in the late 1980s the enrollment rate for the Lao Sung was less than half that of the Lao Loum; enrollment was also low for Lao Theung children.
Girls are less likely than boys to attend school and attend for fewer years—a discrepancy that was declining, however, in the early 1990s. In 1969 only 37 percent of students in primary school were girls; by 1989, however, 44 percent of primary school students were girls. Because of Lao Sung cultural attitudes toward girls' and women's responsibilities, girls in these groups accounted for only 26 percent of all students.
Secondary education enrollment has expanded since 1975 but as of mid-1994 was still limited in availability and scope. In 1992-93 only about 130,000 students were enrolled in all postprimary programs, including lower- and upper-secondary schools, vocational programs, and teacher-training schools. The exodus of Laotian elite after 1975 deprived vocational and secondary schools of many of their staff, a situation that was only partly offset by students returning from training in socialist countries. Between 1975 and 1990, the government granted over 14,000 scholarships for study in at least eight socialist countries: just over 7,000 were to the Soviet Union, followed by 2,500 to Vietnam, and 1,800 to the German Democratic Republic (East Germany).
In mid-1994 the school year was nine months. The ideal sequence included five years of primary school, followed by three years of lower-secondary school and three years of upper-secondary school. In 2010, another year was added to upper-secondary school, for a total of 12 years of primary and secondary education. Some students go directly from primary or lower-secondary school to vocational instruction, for example, in teacher-training schools or agriculture schools.
Local secondary education is concentrated in the provincial capitals and some district centers. Dropout rates for students at secondary and technical schools are not as high as among primary students, but the gender and ethnic group differentials are more pronounced. In the late 1980s, only 7% of lower-secondary students were Lao Sung or Lao Theung, a rate that dropped to 3% in upper-secondary school. For most students who do not live in a provincial center, attendance at secondary school requires boarding away from home in makeshift facilities. This situation further discourages students in rural areas from pursuing further education, with additional differential impacts on girls and minorities. Vientiane has the majority of advanced schools, including the national teachers' training school at Dong Dok, the irrigation college at Tad Thong, the agriculture college at Na Phok, the National Polytechnic Institute, and the University of Medical Sciences. Even so, the level of training available at these schools is low.
In 1986 the government began to reform the education system, with the goals of linking educational development more closely to the socioeconomic situation in each locality, improving science training and emphasis, expanding networks to remote mountainous regions, and recruiting minority teachers. The plan envisioned making education more relevant to daily realities and building increased cooperation in educational activities among the ministries, mass organizations, and the community. However, the ability to implement this program through its scheduled completion in 2000 depended on a significant budgetary increase to the education sector in addition to receiving significant foreign aid. Education accounted for only 8 percent of government expenditures in 1988, down from a 10% to 15% range during the preceding seven-year period, and cultural expenditures were not accorded a high priority.
Although more school texts and general magazines are being printed, poor distribution systems and budgetary constraints limit their availability throughout the country. Overall, 3.9 million books were printed in 1989, including school texts published by the Ministry of Education, and novels, stories, and poems published by the Ministry of Information and Culture. Translations into Lao of Russian-language technical, literary, and children's books were available through the Novosti press agency. Virtually all these materials are inexpensive paperbound editions.
Distribution of school texts is improving, and magazines and novels can occasionally be found in district markets distant from Vientiane. Thai printed material—for the most part, magazines and books—was available after the late 1980s in a few shops. Yet, in the early 1990s, it was rare to see a book or any other reading material in rural villages, with the exception of political posters or a months-old edition of the newspaper Xieng Pasason ("Voice of the People") pasted on a house wall.
Refer to page Education in Laos (post-1990) for updated education information.
The Lao population of 6.5 million is ethnically and linguistically diverse. The government has defined 49 ethnic groups, many having their own language.School attendance, literacy, and other indicators of educational attainment vary greatly among different ethnic groups. Census data from 1995 reveal that 23 percent of the Lao never went to school as compared with 34, 56, and 67 percent for Phutai, Khmu, and Hmong. Among two of the smallest ethnic groups, 94 percent of the Kor and 96 percent of the Musir never attended school. The quality of instruction tends to be poor, and nearly half of those who enter do not complete the primary cycle.
Lao, the official and instructional language, is the first language of about 50 percent of the population. Children from homes where Lao is not spoken enter schools with a significant handicap, a condition partly accounting for the high dropout rate. Changing the language of instruction would be a complex problem; however, steps can be taken by schools to assist non-Lao speaking pupils.
The rural quality of Laos implicates the provision of education as urbanization facilitates educational delivery. It is more expensive to provide schools for each small village than to build a smaller number of large schools in cities. These rural-urban differences are even more significant for provision of secondary, technical or vocational schools given the higher unit costs involved. The quantity and quality of schooling are influenced by demographic structures and are highly sensitive to the size of the school-age cohort.
The extremely young population of Lao PDR puts a heavy burden on schooling and, at the same time, the high dependency ratio contributes to the low national productivity. Large families force choices as to which children go to school, tending to suppress female enrollments and indirectly reducing the number of subsequent opportunities for girls in education and in the labor market.
The education system is evolving under severely constraining conditions of inadequately prepared and poorly paid teachers, insufficient funding, shortages of facilities, and often ineffective allocation of the limited resources available. There is significant geographic, ethnic, gender and wealth disparities in the distribution of educational services, and inequalities exist in every level of the system.
Education in Indonesia falls under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Religious Affairs. In Indonesia, all citizens must undertake twelve years of compulsory education which consists of six years at elementary level and three each at middle and high school levels. Islamic schools are under the responsibility of the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
Education in Vietnam is a state-run system of public and private education run by the Ministry of Education and Training. It is divided into five levels: preschool, primary school, secondary school, high school, and higher education. Formal education consists of twelve years of basic education. Basic education consists of five years of primary education, four years of intermediate education, and three years of secondary education. The majority of basic education students are enrolled on a half-day basis. The main education goal in Vietnam is "improving people's general knowledge, training quality human resources, and nurturing and fostering talent."
Cameroon is a Central African nation on the Gulf of Guinea. Bantu speakers were among the first groups to settle Cameroon, followed by the Muslim Fulani until German domination in 1884. After World War I, the French took over 80% of the area, and the British 20%. After World War II, self-government was granted, and in 1972, a unitary republic was formed out of East and West Cameroon. Until 1976 there were two separate education systems, French and English, which did not merge seamlessly. English is now considered the primary language of instruction. Local languages are generally not taught as there are too many, and choosing between them would raise further issues.
Education in Sudan is free and/or compulsory for children aged 6 to 13 years. Primary education up to the 2019/2020 academic year consists of eight years, followed by three years of secondary education. The primary/secondary educational ladder of 6+3+3 years was switched in 1965 and during the Omar al-Bashir presidency to 8+3 and is scheduled, during the 2019 Sudanese transition to democracy, to return to 6+3+3 in the 2020/2021 academic year. The primary language at all levels is Arabic. Starting in the 2020/2021 academic year, English is to be taught starting at kindergarten. Schools are concentrated in urban areas; many in the South and West were damaged or destroyed by years of civil war. In 2001 the World Bank estimated that primary enrolment was 46 percent of eligible pupils and 21 percent of secondary students. Enrolment varies widely, falling below 20 percent in some provinces. Sudan has 36 government universities and 19 private universities, in which instruction is primarily in Arabic.
Education in Bolivia, as in many other areas of Bolivian life, has a divide between Bolivia's rural and urban areas. Rural illiteracy levels remain high, even as the rest of the country becomes increasingly literate. Bolivia devotes 23% of its annual budget to educational expenditures, a higher percentage than in most other South American countries, albeit from a smaller national budget. A comprehensive, education reform has made some significant changes. Initiated in 1994, the reform decentralized educational funding in order to meet diverse local needs, improved teacher training and curricula, formalized and expanded intercultural bilingual education and changed the school grade system. Resistance from teachers’ unions, however, has slowed implementation of some of the intended reforms.
Education in Tanzania is provided by both the public and private sectors, starting with pre-primary education, followed by primary, secondary ordinary, secondary advanced, and ideally, university level education. Free and accessible education is a human right in Tanzania. The Tanzanian government began to emphasize the importance of education shortly after its independence in 1961. Curriculum is standardized by level, and it is the basis for the national examinations. Achievement levels are important, yet there are various causes of children not receiving the education that they need, including the need to help families with work, poor accessibility, and a variety of learning disabilities. While there is a lack of resources for special needs education, Tanzania has committed to inclusive education and attention on disadvantaged learners, as pointed out in the 2006 Education Sector Review AIDE-MEMORE. The government's National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty in 2005 heavily emphasized on education and literacy.
Education in Cambodia is controlled by the state through the Ministry of Education in a national level and by the Department of Education at the provincial level. The Constitution of Cambodia establishes that the state shall protect and upgrade citizen's rights to quality education at all levels, guaranteeing that all citizens have equal opportunity to earn a living. The state shall adopt an education program "according to the principle of modern pedagogy including technology and foreign languages," as well as the state controls public and private schools and classrooms at all levels. The Cambodian education system includes pre-school, primary, general secondary, higher education and non-formal education. The education system includes the development of sport, information technology education, research development and technical education. School enrollment has increased during the 2000s in Cambodia. USAID data shows that in 2011 primary enrollment reached 96% of the child population, lower secondary school 34% and upper secondary 21%.
The Government of Yemen has made the development of education system its top priority. The share of the budget dedicated to education has remained high during the past decade, averaging between 14 and 20% of the total government expenditure and as of 2000 it is 32.8 percent. The education expenditure is 9.6 percent of GDP for the year 2001 as seen in the chart below. In the strategic vision for the next 25 years since 2000,the government has committed to bring significant changes in the education system, thereby reducing illiteracy to less than 10% by 2025. Although Yemen's government provides for universal, compulsory, free education for children ages six through 15, the more U.S. Department of State reports that compulsory attendance is not enforced. The country ranked 150 out of 177 in the 2006 Human Development Index and 121 out of 140 countries in the Gender Development Index (2006). In 2005, 81 percent of Yemen's school-age population was enrolled in primary school; enrollment of the female population was 74 percent. Then in 2005, about 46 percent of the school-age population was enrolled in secondary school, including only 30 percent of eligible females. The country is still struggling to provide the requisite infrastructure. School facilities and educational materials are of poor quality, classrooms are too few in number, and the teaching faculty is inadequate.
Education in Ethiopia had been dominated by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church for many centuries until secular education was adopted in the early 1900s. Prior to 1974, Ethiopia had an estimated illiteracy rate well above 90% and compared poorly with the rest of Africa in the provision of schools and universities. After the Ethiopian Revolution, emphasis was placed on increasing literacy in rural areas. Practical subjects were stressed, as was the teaching of socialism. By 2015, the literacy rate had increased to 49.1%, still poor compared to most of the rest of Africa.
The Constitution mandates free and compulsory primary education in the Gambia, but a lack of resources and education infrastructure has made implementation difficult. In 1995, the gross primary enrollment rate was 77.1 percent and the net primary enrollment rate was 64.7 percent. School fees long prevented many children from attending school, but in February 1998 the president of the Gambia ordered the termination of fees for the first six years of schooling. Girls make up about 40 percent of primary school students, though the figure is much lower in rural areas where cultural factors and poverty prevent parents from sending girls to school. Approximately 20 percent of school-age children attend Koranic schools, which usually have a restricted curriculum.
Education in Chad is challenging due to the nation's dispersed population and a certain degree of reluctance on the part of parents to send their children to school. Although attendance is compulsory, only 68% of boys continue their education past primary school, and over half of the population is illiterate. Higher education is provided at the University of N'Djamena.
The education system in Morocco comprises pre-school, primary, secondary and tertiary levels. School education is supervised by the Ministry of National Education, with considerable devolution to the regional level. Higher education falls under the Ministry of Higher Education and Executive Training.
Western-style education was introduced to Bhutan during the reign of Ugyen Wangchuck (1907–26). Until the 1950s, the only formal education available to Bhutanese students, except for private schools in Ha and Bumthang, was through Buddhist monasteries. In the 1950s, several private secular schools were established without government support, and several others were established in major district towns with government backing. By the late 1950s, there were twenty-nine government and thirty private primary schools, but only about 2,500 children were enrolled. Secondary education was available only in India. Eventually, the private schools were taken under government supervision to raise the quality of education provided. Although some primary schools in remote areas had to be closed because of low attendance, the most significant modern developments in education came during the period of the First Development Plan (1961–66), when some 108 schools were operating and 15,000 students were enrolled.
Education in Angola has six years of compulsory education, under the Angolan Education Law (13/01) of 31 December 2001. Basic adult literacy continues to be low, but there are conflicting figures from government and other sources. It is difficult to assess literacy and education needs. According to 2015 estimates, the literacy rate in Angola is 71.1% . On the other hand, the university system has been developing considerably over the last decade.
Education in Ivory Coast continues to face many challenges. The literacy rate for adults remains low: in 2000, it was estimated that only 48.7% of the total population was literate. Many children between 6 and 10 years are not enrolled in school, mainly children of poor families. The majority of students in secondary education are male. At the end of secondary education, students can sit the Baccalauréat examination. The country has universities in Abidjan, Bouaké, and Yamoussoukro.
This article is about education in Seychelles and its evolution from private mission schools to compulsory public education in the modern system.
Education in Guatemala is free and compulsory for six years. Guatemala has a five-tier system of education starting with primary school, followed by secondary school and tertiary education, depending on the level of technical training. 74.5% of the population age 15 and over is literate, the lowest literacy rate in Central America. The official language of instruction is Spanish as mandated by the Education Law in 1965 when Spanish became the official language of Guatemala.
Benin has abolished school fees and is carrying out the recommendations of its 2007 Educational Forum. In 1996, the gross primary enrollment rate was 72.5 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 59.3 percent. A far greater percentage of boys are enrolled in school than girls: In 1996, the gross primary enrollment rate for boys was 88.4 percent as opposed to 55.7 percent for girls. The net primary enrollment rates were 71.6 percent for boys and 46.2 percent for girls. Primary school attendance rates were unavailable for Benin as of 2001.
Education in South Sudan is modelled after the educational system of the Republic of Sudan. Primary education consists of eight years, followed by four years of secondary education, and then four years of university instruction; the 8 + 4 + 4 system, in place since 1990. The primary language at all levels is English, as compared to the Republic of Sudan, where the language of instruction is Arabic. There is a severe shortage of English teachers and English-speaking teachers in the scientific and technical fields.