A consultation meeting on the draft curriculum of a Master’s programme in Population and Development Studies, which will be taught by the Faculty of Social Sciences, was held by the National University of Laos (NUoL) in Vientiane Capital on Nov 16.
The programme is needed to strengthen the capacity of the faculty in demographic analyses and the incorporation of population factors into the socio-economic development plan.
The meeting, sponsored by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Lao PDR, also provided experts from both academia and line ministries an opportunity to discuss population issues and challenges in Laos.
Demographic analytical skills are needed to understand the demographic changes in Laos over the past few decades. These include changes in the age structure of the population, migration patterns, educational and skills structure, the state of health and geographic distribution.
To experts, these population dynamics are of critical importance for planning. The implications of these changes and addressing them in the development planning efforts are vital in order to graduate from the Least Developed Country Status and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
“It is essential to understand population dynamics such as the demographic dividend, migration patterns, etc., and to have a group of teachers and students who will be equipped with the skills to assess and understand contemporary and future issues regarding population and development. This group can advise policy makers on population issues and projections for the development of the planning-process,” said UNFPA Representative, Ms Frederika Meijer.
“Skills and expertise in the area of demographic analysis is still very much limited in Lao PDR. Population studies will prepare demographers, government officials and social scientists for careers in government service, academics and the private sector,” Ms Meijer continued.
“Based on the needs assessment conducted, we see the demand from both the private and public sectors for population studies which are in line with the current socio-economic situation of the country,” said Vice President of NUoL, Mr Phout Simmalavong.
“Through the programme, graduate students will analyze population issues that have implications on health, education, employment, urbanization, social security and the environment, as well as learn analytical and research skills that are useful for both the public and private sectors,” said Mr Phout.
The new Master’s Programme on Population and Development Studies is expected to be launched in September 2017.
Source: Lao News Agency