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ADB beefs up university education in Champassak

Champassak province: Teachers and students at Champassak University now have access to higher-quality education, thanks to support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) through the Strengthening Higher Education project.
University Vice President Dr Phonesavanh Thepphasoulithone highlighted the key achievements of ADB’s project during a visit by ADB Country Director Mr Yasushi Negishi on Wednesday to discuss development issues in relation to ADB operations, as well as ADB-financed projects in Champassak province.
Mr Negishi is in Champassak from November 6-8 to monitor two ADB-supported projects - the Strengthening Higher Education project and the Strengthening Technical and Vocational Education and Training project.
During his visit on Wednesday, Dr Phonesavanh outlined the main successes of the Strengthening Higher Education project, which has seen the construction of buildings, a library, an information and communications technology (ICT) centre, dormitories, and a fully-equipped laboratory on the university campus.
Dr Phonesavanh said the laboratory was very beneficial because it enabled students to carry out practical work which made it easier for them to understand the topics they were studying.
“This ADB-supported project has not only provided us with a lot of useful facilities but has also provided scholarships for teachers to take master’s and doctorate degrees,” she said.
“Some teachers have taken short training courses on teaching skills, and the ADB project has also assisted with the development of the curriculum so that it is of a higher standard.”
One lecturer, Mr Somsanit Souvong, said the project had given staff the opportunity to improve their teaching skills and to take their own education to a higher level.
“Teachers have attended training of trainer courses to learn new teaching methods which emphasise 40 percent practical work and 60 percent theory,” he added.
A fourth-year student in the Science Faculty who had benefitted from the project, Ms Vongphan Somsanouk, was grateful for ADB’s assistance in support of improved educational facilities, especially the laboratory which had modern equipment.
“Most students are interested in laboratory work but in the past we did not have a lab. Everything we learnt came from lectures and was only theoretical, but now we get to work in a laboratory which makes things more interesting and it’s easier to understand the lectures.”
ADB is helping to expand and improve higher education in Laos. Its project aims to raise standards at the National University of Laos, Champassak University and Souphanouvong University.
The Strengthening Higher Education project creates links between higher education and socio-economic development needs by improving education quality, enhancing access to higher education programmes, and strengthening the governance and management of higher education institutions.

ByKeoviengkhone Bounviseth
(Latest Update November 8, 2019)

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