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What should be done to ensure greater access to education?

Education is essential because it is the foundation of progress, civilisation and development. Recognising this, organisations worldwide are working to ensure literacy for both adults and young people, especially among populations in remote areas. Large numbers of people want an education but poverty often prevents them from attending school. On International Literacy Day,
Vientiane Times asked people for their thoughts on how literacy rates could be improved.



Mr Phonpaserd Phomnimid, a government official in Luang Prabang province: Learning is a difficult process but reading and writing is essential in order to be able to communicate. Everyone should at least know how to read, even if you can’t write. My message is “please begin learning today – it’s never too late”. Our government needs to have a much bigger education budget and make it compulsory for all children aged six and up to attend school, with no dropouts allowed.
Ms Khanphone Manotham, a government official in Vientiane province: The government needs to start by improving the standard of our teachers. Then they should be offered a decent salary and given positions at schools in rural areas. I also think it’s important to provide tuition for older people who have never had an education. At home I often teach my grandparents how to read texts or messages because they don’t know how to. They said they’d like to know so they could make a trip arranged by a travel agent.
Ms Chanpheng, a resident of Vientiane: Illiteracy is often the main reason for poverty, particularly in remote areas. In my opinion, it’s essential to instill a reading habit in children when they are very young. City dwellers also lack education. Fifty years ago, some people never had any reading material as their lives revolved around the natural world without the use of technology, and many people felt no need to get an education. Today we can use modern technology in the development of literacy. All governments should make use of technology to improve literacy rates and inspire people to learn how to read and write.

Ms Buasay, a resident of Xayaboury province: I think this is something that begins at home, as children’s development depends on what their parents teach them. If all parents encourage their children to learn to read, I think illiteracy would decline. And if governments lowered the cost of schooling for people on low incomes, it would make it easier for parents to give their children an education.
Ms Sengmany, a resident of Xaythany district, Vientiane: I urge the government to raise the standard of education and provide more opportunities for disadvantaged people. I would establish good quality schools in rural areas – the same as schools in towns – then offer a high salary to the best teachers in remote areas. Then I would do everything possible to inspire adults and young people to understand the importance of reading. I call on the authorities to be more inclusive when it comes to communities in rural areas. I believe that the future of our planet lies in sustainable development, which has its roots in a knowledgeable and well-educated population.

Mr Khonpasith Thongphanith, a government official in Champassak province: Educating people means motivating and inspiring them. Some people are lazy and don’t want to learn, so it’s hard to force them to. But everyone should learn to read and write, and this is something that parents should get involved in when children are very young. If everyone in the world learnt to read at a young age, it would enable a lot more people to get a good education and improve their prospects in life. In my opinion, government officials in every country should visit schools in impoverished areas and do what they can to improve the standard of education in rural communities.


By Lamphone Pasanthong
(Latest Update September 11, 2023)

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