VIENTIANE, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Lao Ministry of Science and Technology will foster scientific research and scholarly development to meet the country's future development needs, local daily Vientiane Times reported on Thursday.
Scientists have an important role to play in creating justice in society and contributing to the sustainable socio-economic and cultural development of Laos, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Houmphanh Intharath said on the sidelines of an ASEAN conference in Vientiane.
"This could be achieved by advancing scientific and technological progress towards the gradual transformation of Laos into an industrialized nation," he was quoted as saying.
"Laos needs to encourage and produce specialists who have the scientific skills necessary to enhance the development process ... We also need to keep pace with scientific advances taking place in other ASEAN countries, especially in view of the ongoing economic integration," he said.
Laos currently has one scientific research specialist for every 10,000 people. The government's goal is to produce 11 scientists for every 10,000 people by 2020, the official said, adding that the government places a high priority on the development of human resources in science.
In recent years, the ministry had partnered with regional and international bodies to assist with funding and personnel exchanges in the field of science, and had sent scientists to study in ASEAN and other countries to broaden their knowledge, reported the Vientiane Times.
According to the ministry, the Lao government is encouraging the private sector to invest in science as part of the Science and Technology Development Strategy to 2025 and the Vision to 2030.