The school in Laos

In Laos, the teachers speak very little English, and it is not easy to find information. We will still try to tell you what we know and what we saw.

A few general information

The school in Laos is public, free and compulsory (since 1996) until the end of primary school.

Schooling begins at the age of 6; primary school lasts 5 years, as in France. At the end of the fifth year, students receive a certificate of primary education.

Then four years ago from lower secondary (the equivalent of the college), with a diploma as a patent at the end; then three years of upper secondary (the equivalent of high school) with diploma as the Bac end unfortunately, relatively few students continue school after the primary: the best 30% of students!

There are a few private schools, but it is barely 3% of primary school students.

The uniform : it seems not mandatory everywhere. We had the impression that it is especially at the college and high school students must wear the uniform.


Students go to school 5 days per week, from Monday to Friday, as in France. They go to class in the morning and the afternoon: from 8: 00 to 11:30 and 13:30 to 16: 00. In general, they return home to eat lunch, there is no No canteen. If they live too far, they bring their meals. Children come to school on foot or by bicycle (in college, they often have a scooter to come)

Two recreations take place in the day: 20 minutes in the middle of morning and 10 minutes in mid-afternoon.


Primary school:

    • read/write of the Lao
    • Mathematics
    • English from 8 years in a very summary manner. In the school we visited, students had English 1 hour twice per week with a teacher from outside.
    • The world around us "the life around us" : on daily life in general.
    • drawing, arts and crafts.

The repetition or tutoring is not set up due to lack of means. Teachers can assign a small red scarf to good students.

Students also learn at school the notions ofhygiene Basic (washing hands, etc.). They are also responsible for storing the class and pass the brush in the morning or in the evening.

There is in general No sport course. But after school, children often take advantage of the playground to play: football, badminton, ball...

School holidays

There are fewer holidays in Laos than in France:

  • 2 week in April for new year Lao
  • 3 months during the rainy season (July-August)
  • a few holidays the rest of the year

Teachers / schools

The salary means of teachers is low (€35 per month for primary school). As in Cambodia, teachers often have a complementary activity, which has an adverse impact on the quality of education.
The classrooms are often poorly equipped and of poor quality: a Blackboard, of the benches or chairs and wooden tables and thats it! A study (2012) indicates that half of the Laotian schools has the roof leaking when it rains; only half has a supply of water, 20% have electricity and less than half have toilets. The conditions are tougher in the countryside than in town.

Some examples in picture:

We saw schools in villages. In the cities, conditions are often a little better. Here, two different schools, an average, and a tiny (one class room).