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Services by Sector: Educational Services

 

A. OVERVIEW OF EDUCATION SERVICES IN LAO PDR

Background Information

In the National Socio-Economic Development Plan 2006-2014, the Government of Lao PDR identified the education sector as one (1) of the four (4) pillars of the poverty reduction strategy.

The education services sector directly contributes to poverty reduction and economic growth through two main channels.  The first channel is directly related to the empowerment of Lao citizens from early childhood through to adulthood by ensuring that Lao PDR secures its future and continues efforts to augment its literacy rate and level of education. The Government of Lao PDR partnered with development partners such as the World Bank and UNESCO in undertaking several initiatives geared towards enhancing the education services sector to this end.

The second channel speaks to education services as an export revenue earner; this is more directly linked to the Higher Level Education services.  

The National Education Sector Development Framework 2009-2015 [1] maps out policies and strategies for the development of various dimensions of the education system, including Early Childhood, Primary and Lower Secondary Education, Upper Secondary Education, Higher Education, strengthening education management and human resources and improving sector governance and performance management.

The Sector Development Framework further sets out priorities governing:

  • assuring equitable access to education services
  • improving quality and efficiency of education services
  • improving education sector governance and performance management
  • improving financing strategy, planning and management
  • strengthening sector performance monitoring and review systems

These key areas positively influence the development of the education services sector.

The WTO classification for this sector covers:

  • Primary education services;
  • Secondary education services;                   
  • Higher education services;                          
  • Adult education; and                                            
  • Other education services             

B. KEY IMPERATIVES AND INFORMATION FOR SERVICE PROVIDERS AND INVESTORS

I.Legal and Regulatory Environment of the Education Services Sector

The education services sector is regulated through regulatory entities, primary and secondary legislation and sector specific associations and organisations. 

II.Regulatory Entities governing the Education Services Sector

The primary regulatory entity governing the Education Services Sector is the Ministry of Education and Sports. The Ministry of Education and Sports is supported by the following Ministries and agencies, which complement the regulatory, and oversight efforts of the Ministry:

  • Education Division in Provinces
  • Education Office in Districts and Municipalities
  • Ministry of Finance
  • Ministry of Planning and Investment
  • District Education Bureau
  • Educational Inspection Body
  • Educational Administration Bodies
  • Education Advisory Councils
  • School Boards/Committees
  • Provincial Educational Divisions

III.Education Services Sector Associations

Key Associations governing the Education Services Sector include:

  • Village Education Development Committee
  • Parents Learners Association

IV.Legislation (Laws and Regulations) governing the Education Services Sector

Relevant legislations which impact the Education Services Sector include:

PRIMARY LEGISLATION

SECONDARY LEGISLATION

Decrees

Decisions

Instructions

Education Law (Amended) No. 62/NA

 

Decree on Organisation and Functioning of the National Higher Education Chamber No. 64/PM

Ministerial Decision on Rules Governing  Lao Student Study Aboard No. 3552/MOES.DSA.13

Instruction on Verification of Academic Certificates, Diplomas and Educational Qualifications No. 0602/MOES.DI

Vocational Education Law No. 42/NA

Decree on Higher Education

No. 177/GOV

 

 

 

Decision on the National Curriculum Standard for Specialization Level I No. 4129 /MOES.DHE/11

 

 

Decision on the National Curriculum Standard for Specialization Level II No. 4126 /MOES.DHE/11

 

 

Decision on the National Continuing Curriculum Standard for Associate Degree No. 4124/MOES.DHE./11

 

Decision on the National Continuing Curriculum Standards for Bachelor’s Degree No. 4123/MOES.DHE/11

 

 

Decision on the National Curriculum Standards for Master’s Degree No. 4128 /MOES.DHE/2011

 

Decision on the National Curriculum Standards for Graduate Diploma No. 4125/MOES.DHE.2011

Decision on the National Curriculum Standards for Doctoral Degree No. 4127/MOES.DHE.2011

 

 

 

 

 

Lao PDR Commitments in Private Educational Services under Regional and International Agreements

                        

The following presents the commitments of Lao PDR under core regional and international agreements for the private education services sector. The agreements assessed are:

  • WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services
  • ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (9th Package of Commitments)
  • ASEAN – Australia/New Zealand Free Trade Agreement
  • ASEAN Agreement on the Movement of Natural Persons
  • ASEAN – China Free Trade Agreement on Trade in Services
  • ASEAN – India Agreement on Trade in Services

WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services

Under the General Agreement on Trade in Services, it is noted that the education curriculum and contents must be approved by the Ministry of Education of Lao PDR. With respect to Higher Education Services and Adult Education, the commitments cover only technical, natural sciences and technology, business administration and business studies, economics, accounting, international law and language training fields. The scope of private education services concerns only fully-privately funded services.

The WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services covers the following services:

  • Primary education services (part of CPC 921)
  • Secondary education services (part of CPC 922)
  • Higher education services (part of CPC 923)
  • Adult education (part of CPC 924)
  • Other education services:
  • Short term foreign language training only (part of CPC 929)

In respect of limitations market access, for Primary education services (part of CPC 921) and Secondary education services (part of CPC 922)

Lao PDR is unbound in relation to mode 1, but placed no limitations on market access for mode 2. Specific to mode 3, Lao PDR limits market access by stipulating that foreign equity participation be limited to 51%. In relation to mode 4, Lao PDR is unbound, except as indicated in the horizontal section.

In relation to limitations on national treatment, Lao PDR is unbound for mode 1 and placed no limitations in relation to mode 2. As it relates to mode 3, Lao stipulates that Directors must be qualified teachers who are Lao PDR nationals and under mode 4, Lao PDR is unbound, except as indicated in the horizontal section.

For Higher education services (part of CPC 923), Adult education (part of CPC 924) and Other education services,  In relation to mode 1, cross border  supply of services, Lao PDR placed no limitations on market access for modes 1 and 2, cross border supply of services and consumption abroad respectively. For mode 3, establishment of a commercial presence, foreign equity participation is limited to 51%. In respect of limitations on market access under mode 4, movement of natural persons, Lao PDR is unbound, except as indicated in the horizontal section. In relation to limitations on national treatment, Lao PDR placed no limitations on national treatment on modes 1 and 2. As it relates to mode 3, Lao stipulates that Directors must be qualified teachers who are Lao PDR nationals and under mode 4, Lao PDR is unbound, except as indicated in the horizontal section.

ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (9th Package of Commitments)

The ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services covers:

  • Primary education services (CPC 921)
  • Secondary education services
  • Higher secondary education services (CPC 9222)
  • Higher education services
  • Post secondary technical and vocational education services (CPC 92310)
  • Secondary education services
  •  General secondary education services (CPC 9221)
  • Technical and vocational training (Part of CPC 922)
  • Higher education services (CPC 923)
  • Adult education services (CPC 924)
  • Other education services - Short term foreign language training (Part of CPC 929)

Lao PDR placed no limitations on market access and national treatment in respect of supplying the following services under modes 1 and 2 (cross border supply of services and consumption abroad respectively).

  • Primary education services (CPC 921)
  • Secondary education services
  • Higher secondary education services (CPC 9222)
  • Higher education services
  • Post secondary technical and vocational education services (CPC 92310),

In relation to limitations on market access, limitations as stated in the Horizontal section are the only applicable limitations in respect of providing the above-noted services under mode 3. There are no limitations on national treatment in regard to providing these services under mode 3, but economic needs tests are to be undertaken in this regard.

In relation to the provision of:

  • Secondary education services
  • General Secondary Education services (CPC 9221)
  • Technical and vocational training (Part of CPC 922)
  •  Higher education services (CPC 923)
  • Adult education services (CPC 924)
  • Other education services - Short term foreign language training (Part of CPC 929),

No limitations were placed in respect of limitations on market access and national treatment for modes 1 and 2.

For these services which will be provided through the establishment of a commercial presence (mode 3), no limitations were placed on market access or national treatment, but economic needs tests are to be undertaken in respect of both market access and national treatment.  

ASEAN – Australia/New Zealand Free Trade Agreement

The scope of this agreement covers the following sub sectors as private education services:

  • Secondary education services
  • Technical and Vocational Training (Part of CPC 922)
  • Higher education services (CPC 923)
  • Adult education (CPC 924)
  • Other education services (including foreign language training) (CPC 929)

Specific to the provision of secondary education services, Lao PDR places no limitations on market access and national treatment for modes 1 and 2 (cross border supply and consumption abroad respectively). In respect of mode 3, no limitations were placed by Lao PDR in respect of market access. No sector specific commitments were made in relation to national treatment; however horizontal commitments apply.

Under the ASEAN – Australia/New Zealand Free Trade Agreement:

  • Higher education services (CPC 923)
  • Adult education (CPC 924)
  • Other education services (including foreign language training) (CPC 929)

No commitments were made in respect of market access and national treatment in relation to the supply of services under modes 1 and 2 (cross border supply and consumption abroad). Specific to supplying services through the establishment of a commercial presence, no limitations were placed in relation to market access. In relation to national treatment, no sector specific commitments were made, although horizontal commitments are to be applied.

 

ASEAN Agreement on the Movement of Natural Persons

The ASEAN Agreement on the Movement of Natural Persons Agreement covers the following education services:

  • Primary education services (CPC 921)
  • Secondary education services (CPC 922), including:
    • Higher secondary education services (CPC 9222)
    • General secondary education services (CPC 9221)
    • Technical and vocational training (Part of CPC 922)
  • Higher education services (CPC 923), including:
  • Post secondary technical and vocational education services (CPC 92310)
  • Adult education (CPC 924)
  • Other education services - short term foreign language training (Part of CPC 929)

The limitations as applied in the horizontal section apply both in respect of the limitations on market access and national treatment for the above-noted sub sectors. These are the only limitations to be applied.

ASEAN – China Free Trade Agreement on Trade in Services

This Agreement covers private education services. Specific sub sectors covered include:

  • Secondary education services (part of CPC 922)
  • Higher education services (part of CPC 923)
  • Adult education (part of CPC 924)
  • Other education services:
    • Short term foreign language training only (part of CPC 929)

For the provision of these services utilising mode 1, Lao PDR made no commitments in regard to market access and national treatment. Specific to the provision of these services under mode 2, no limitations were placed on market access and national treatment. 

In providing these services using mode 3, establishment of a commercial presence, Lao PDR limits foreign equity participation l to

51% in respect of market access and places a limitation on national treatment requiring that Directors be qualified teachers who are Lao PDR nationals. In respect of provision of these services under mode 4, Lao PDR made no sector specific commitments in this regard, but the relevant provisions under the horizontal section apply.

ASEAN – India Agreement on Trade in Services

Under this Agreement, it is provided for the education curriculum and contents be approved by Ministry of Education of Lao PDR - With respect to Higher education services (CPC 923) and Adult education services (CPC 924), the commitment covers only in technical, natural sciences and information communication technology and computing, business administration and business studies, economics, accounting, international Law, and language training fields. In addition, the scope of private education services covers only fully-privately funded services.

The Agreement covers:

  • Secondary education services - Technical and Vocational training (Part of CPC 922)
  • Higher education services (CPC 923)
  • Adult education services (CPC 924)
  • Other education services Short term foreign language training (Part of CPC 929)

In providing these services utilizing modes 1 and 2, cross border supply and consumption abroad respectively, Lao PDR placed no limitations on market access or national treatment. In respect of providing these services under mode 3, limitations as detailed in the horizontal section apply in relation to market access and Lao further limits market access to the conduct of economic needs test. In respect of limitations on national treatment, no commitments have been made for these services.

In providing the above services through the movement of persons, mode 4, Lao limitations as contained in the horizontal section apply.