From 8 to 9 May 2014, ASEAN-China Centre (ACC) organized the visit of Chinese vocational colleges’ tour to Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR). The visit was supported by the Embassy of Lao PDR in Beijing and the Ministry of Education and Sports (MOES) of Lao PDR. During the two days, the delegation participated in the whole-day partnership workshop on vocational education, and visited Pakpasak Technical College, Lao-German Technical school and Polytechnic College in Vientiane, a courtesy call to the Chinese Embassy in Vientiane, and visited Soochow University in Lao PDR. Mr. Darasack Ratsavong, First Secretary and Education officer of the Embassy of Lao PDR in Beijing accompanied the delegation.
The government of Lao PDR pays enormous attention to the partnership workshop on vocational education between China and Lao PDR, which is participated by 12 technical colleges, technical high schools and polytechnic colleges from various parts of Lao PDR. At the opening ceremony, the speech by Vice Minister Kongsy Sengmany of MOES called on the colleges to learn from China's experience, work together, to improve their skills, hence, able to contribute to the social economic development of Lao PDR. Mr. Phouvient Phoumilay, Deputy Director General of Technical and Vocational Education Department (TVED), Ministry of Education and Sports of Lao PDR at the opening ceremony said that China's support in vocational technical education is highly appreciated. During the discussion session, representatives from ACC discussed with Mr. Phouvient Phoumilay on dispatching teachers from Lao PDR to be trained in China. Mr. Phouvient Phoumilay also said that as a member of the council of SEAMEO VOCTHECH, Lao PDR supported ACC’s proposal to hold this year's Council Meeting during China-ASEAN Education Cooperation Week in Guizhou Province. ACC donated an equipment and training set provided by Zhejiang Yalong Educational equipment Joint-Stock Co., Ltd to Vice Minister Kongsy Sengmany on behalf of MOES.
Under the current law and regulation of Lao PDR, the MOES is responsible for the technical colleges, Laos Polytechnic University and technical high schools, while the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MLSA) is responsible for vocational training centre and vocational qualification certificate. Lao PDR government pays a lot of attention to development of vocational technical education, which is considered as an important breakthrough for the nation's social and economic development. More importantly, a sustainable supply of qualified-skilled workers will guarantee a rapid development of Lao PDR's economy. All the colleges of the Chinese delegation had met their suitable counterparts and discussed many possible areas for cooperation, and some of them have for agreed to conduct special visits to follow up the partnership workshop.
After in-depth discussion, all the colleges from both side learned about each other's education policies and systems, their needs, and signed altogether 32 MoUs. The contents of the MoUs include the commitments of the Chinese Colleges to provide scholarship, student exchange programme, teacher communication, teacher training, course cooperation, student practice and facilities sharing. During the visits, the delegation were briefed by President Saykham Phanthavong and Vice President Koukeo Phommavongsa of Pakpasak Technical College and President Phongsavath Ouanpomany of Lao-German Technical School about their expectation of cooperating with their Chinese counterpart. Later, the delegation visited the teaching and training facilities of the two institutions. Afterwards, the Chinese colleges signed 12 MoUs with the two institutions.
The delegation also paid a courtesy visit to the Chinese Embassy in Lao PDR, and Charge d’affaires Wu Zhiwu on behalf of the Chinese Ambassador Guan Huabing expressed the willingness to provide assistance to facilitate the cooperation and exchange on vocational education between China and Lao PDR.
The delegation also visited Soochow University in Laos, which is a first Chinese higher education institute set up abroad in July 2011 approved by the Ministry of Eduction of China and government of Lao PDR. The delegation received a warm welcome and learned about the history of its establishment, long-term development plan by Director Chen Mei of the President's office.