Lao People's Democratic Republic

Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) is located in the heart of Southeast Asia. Of the nearly 7 million inhabitants, about 70 per cent were living in rural areas in 2017. However, labour-market participation is low and differs significantly between rural and urban areas and also between men and women. In 2017, the working age population (aged 15 years and above) amounted to roughly 4.76 million people. The actual labour force was estimated to be less than 2 million. Labour force participation rates reach around 20 percentage points higher in urban areas than in rural areas where they are at 53.8 per cent, reflecting the agrarian character of the economy. 

Total employment is concentrated in a few sectors, foremost in agriculture, forestry, fishing; manufacturing; wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles; and public administration and defence. Despite increased investments in educational infrastructure and curriculum development, the training of (vocational) students is not able to respond to the demands of the Laotian labour market yet. Enrolment numbers in vocational schools are much higher for professions in the secondary and tertiary sector. However, the demand for trained workers in the primary sector cannot be met. The lack of systematic professional guidance, investments, quality assurance and cooperation between public and private actors are some of the major reasons for this uneven development. 

To respond to these challenges, the Education and Sports Sector Development Plan (ESDP) defined two main objectives for the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector, namely expanding its capacities and enhancing its responsiveness to labour market needs. To achieve these goals, a clear-cut strategy. It includes expanding and improving the capacity of vocational education through investment in training infrastructure, encouraging social and business agencies to contribute to vocational education and training development by fostering partnerships and consultations, among others. The strategy is aligned with the Strategic Plan for the Development of Technical, Vocational Education and Training up to 2020, which was adopted in 2006.  

Skills, access to finance, regulatory reform, and ASEAN regional integration: Challenges and policy directions for enterprises
Publication Date: 17 Aug 2016
Source: Employers' organizations
Recent studies indicate that a variety of challenges in the business environment hinder further inflow of investment in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. Lack of skills and limited human resources, limited access to financial services and a discouraging regulatory environment, along with anticipated challenges related to regional economic integration place critical constraints on businesses.

This report summarizes the results of a national enterprise survey; desk reviews on issues which concern enterprises in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic; and findings from consultations with the private sector and key stakeholders. Issues under review include the following:
-skills education and training;
-access to finance;
-the legal and regulatory environment;
-anticipated challenges related to the AEC, or Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Community 2015.
Education, skills, and labor market outcomes: Results from large-scale adult skills surveys in urban areas in 12 countries
Publication Date: 16 May 2016
Source: International organizations
The Skills Towards Employability and Productivity (STEP) skills measurement program is part of the World Bank’s portfolio of analytical products on skills. The STEP program consists of two survey instruments that collect information on the supply and demand for skills in urban areas: a household survey and an employer survey. Because it provides a set of core questionnaires and implementation materials, the STEP program not only offers information that can be used for country-level policy analysis but also builds comparable country databases on skills. STEP has been implemented in waves, the first surveys being implemented in seven countries in 2012 (Bolivia, Colombia, Ghana, Lao Peoples Democratic Republic (PDR), Ukraine, Vietnam, and the Yunnan Province in China), and the second in five countries in 2013 (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kenya, and Macedonia, Former Yugoslav Republic of (FYR)). The data presented in this publication correspond to these countries. It illustrates the similarities and differences among groups that have completed different education levels on a wide range of issues and outcomes.
Tracer study non-formal vocational education and training in Lao PDR final report 2014
Publication Date: 10 May 2016
Source: TVET institutions, Bilateral organizations
This study looks into the implementation of the Integrated Vocational Education and Training (IVET) strategy formulating as a duty to provide half of IVET school capacities to training in the nonformal sector (means to learners not meeting the requirements to enter formal TVET, i.e. graduating at least from lower secondary education). The study aims to provide information about the organization of such courses (frequency, subjects, financial issues) as well as labour market relevance of the provided training.
In search of a better match: Qualification mismatches in developing Asia
Publication Date: 15 Apr 2016
Source: Other sources
This paper examines the extent to which various factors explains talent misallocation in the form of qualification mismatches across six urban developing Asian economies using the World Bank’s Skills towards Employability and Productivity (STEP) Skills Measurement Survey.

This paper empirically tests the role of search frictions in driving qualification mismatches in the labor market. Using new data from several low-income economies in urban Asia, it is found that overeducation in less developed labor markets are more pervasive than in more developed economies.