Early childhood education management still faces challenges

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While young Lao children can access schooling, the administration of the early childhood education framework still faces obstacles, according to an official report.
Deputy Director General of Early Childhood Education Department, Ministry of Education and Sports, Mrs Viengkeo Phommachack told Vientiane Times that authorities have focused on early childhood education development, particularly among children aged 3 to 5 and those aged 5 preparing to enrol in Grade 1 of primary school.
Youngsters by and large are able to access early childhood education with school enrolment rates among children aged 3 to 5 achieving 61.3 percent this year, surpassing the target of 55 percent.

Enrolment rates among children aged 5 are 82.7 percent also exceeding the planned 80 percent.

Authorities said that overall, children had access to sufficient education facilities including school buildings and learning materials, nutrition and wellbeing.
However, problems persisted in the management of the sector, according to information sourced by the Early Childhood Education Department.

The challenges faced include many schools not meeting education standards with the learning environment unable to support the needs of children, and there were not enough teachers.

The allocation of resources for teachers is unsuitable for the number of student in each classroom, and some schools have decreased the number of pre-school classes.

Additionally, school enrolment rates among children aged 5 are lower than 60 percent in six districts around the country while the rates have also decreased in other areas.

To continue educational development for young children, the Ministry of Education and Sports organised a meeting to report on the administration of the early childhood education framework in Keo-oudom Vientiane province last week.

At the meeting, representatives of the sector across the country exchanged on early childhood education administration, particularly the management of kindergartens and private schools.The meeting also discussed the draft early childhood education development plan (2021-2025).

Participants heard that authorities have focused on early childhood education development in order to meet the Millennium Development Goals on universal primary education.

The government has supported the upgrade of educational facilities and materials for learning and teaching in an attempt to bolster early childhood education. The ministry also encouraged early childhood education development by providing dormitories for students and teachers at target schools in rural regions and areas earmarked by the government for development.