VIENTIANE, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) -- The primary school dropout rates in Laos increased in more than 70 districts, mostly in rural areas, local daily Vientiane Times reported on Monday.
Overall, primary school dropout rates decreased from 4 percent in 2018 to 3.8 percent in 2019, regardless of a sharp spike in some rural districts.
Xepon district in Savannakhet province of southern Laos saw a 23 percent increase, while the rates were 16 percent in Xaysathan district, Xayaboury province in northern Laos, and 14 percent in Dakcheung district, Xekong province of the south, the media quoted a report from the Ministry of Education and Sports.
However, school enrolment rates increased in line with education development plans in 2019, said the report, adding that as the government improves the quality of education, enrolment of children aged 5 has increased by 2.3 percent. Total enrolment at primary schools stood at 99.1 percent, while the primary school dropout rate decreased by 0.2 percent overall.
The number of students rose at each level of education, especially in early childhood and vocational institutions.
Enrolment of children aged 5 increased from 77 percent in 2018 to 79 percent in 2019 in Laos; primary school dropout rates among grade 1 children fell by 8.8 percent in 2018 to 8.4 percent in 2019; upper secondary school enrolment rose from 53.3 percent in 2018 to 54.8 percent in 2019.
The number of districts with school enrolment of 95 percent increased from 127 to 134 districts.
More students took courses in vocational education, with the number increasing from 68,605 in 2018 to 75,466 in 2019, an increase of 10 percent.
The Lao government has placed a strong focus on early childhood education in a bid to reduce primary school dropout rates in rural areas and ensure a higher standard of education countrywide, said the report.
According to a report on the education sector development plan, early childhood education is expected to have a national enrolment rate of at least 80 percent among 5-year-olds by the end of 2020.