The National University of Laos (NUOL) on Friday marked the 15th anniversary of its founding, taking the occasion to review its significant progress and achievements.
Dr Phankham Viphavanh ( right ) awards a medal to the National University of Laos.
Minister of Education and Sports Dr Phankham Viphavanh, Minister to the Government Office and President of the University Council Prof. Dr Bountiem Phissamai, local officials, foreign ambassadors and international guests were in attendance at the event.
On behalf of the university and its staff, NUOL President Prof. Dr Soukkongseng Saignaleuth described the development of the university since 1996.
At that time, the university comprised eight faculties, a school of foundation studies, seven offices, and a central library.
Now it has grown to 11 faculties, two institutes, five centres, 10 offices, one central library and a school for gifted students and ethnic groups.
The university employs a total staff of 1,788 people, of whom 1,096 are lecturers.
Among the teaching staff, 70 lecturers hold PhDs, 513 have master's degrees, 856 have bachelor degrees, seven are professors and 167 are associate professors.
There are currently 40,731 students enrolled at the university, including 786 overseas nationals.
“Since the university was founded, all levels of leadership have proactively worked to formulate and implement policy and plans for NUOL's development,” Dr Soukkongseng said.
The plans are in line with the government's policy on socio-economic development and the NUOL's 4th five-year strategic plan for 2011-15 is taking shape, he added.
The university aims to train students to become disciplined academicians and professionals with a certain level of knowledge and skills.
Graduates are expected to become specialists and experts in their field, and make a committed contribution to the country's socio-economic development, in line with regional and international norms and standards of development.
NUOL is set to become a fully-fledged university with the necessary infrastructure, facilities and resources.
Over the past 15 years, NUOL has closely cooperated with regional and international universities. A total of 164 foreign universities and institutes from 25 countries have signed cooperative agreements with NUOL.
Through this fruitful cooperation, the university has become a member of several regional and international organisations, including the Asean University Network and Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie.
Ho wever, the university still needs more development in terms of training in political thought and academic practices, while many students are lacking in commitment to their studies, Dr Soukkongseng noted.
Improved facilities, infrastructure and resources are needed for higher quality teaching. More cooperation and contributions are needed from various faculties and bodies within the university to implement the strategic plan.
Prompt coordination and communication between the university's campuses is required, with much improvement needed for greater efficiency and outcomes.
NUOL has identified six priority development areas in its strategic plan, including the d evelopment of personnel, academic staff and students, management system, quality of academic training, research and academic services, facilities and infrastructure, and internal and international relations and cooperation.