I think the latest education report from Laos by VOA is worth hearing. It's in Lao, so if you don't understand Lao I've provided the written summary which states that
"Laos education officials say over 50,000 elementary and secondary-school students dropped out during the 2006-07 academic year. The most significant cause is reportedly budget shortage that prevents the government from extending educational opportunities to students in rural areas.
Another cause is poverty. A lot of parents cannot afford to send their their children to school and prefer to keep them at home to help out with farm work.
On the government side, officials say they are committed to make education reach all children. The government has approved an increase in education funding from 12% to 18% of the national budget. for the current academic year, aiming to extend education to very poor and remote ethnic areas by increasing the number of teachers and developing teaching quality.
Government statistics show there are around 49,000 teachers nationwide, with more than 6,200 administrative and support personnel. There are reportedly some 1.4 million students attending some 8,740 elementary schools, some 1,009 secondary schools, and around 30 vocational and universities throughout the nation."
Right now I believe the easiest and best way to help out if you can, is to support the work of Big Brother Mouse in Laos. Below is a photo I took in the school in my wife's parent's village in one class where all the students are hold one of the 150 books we donated. This fall I'm an adviser for the Lao student club at my high school and the president is eager to raise enough money for Big Brother Mouse to hold a book party at a rural school. I've challenged the Hmong club and their adviser has told me they will raise at least $300 for a book party that will be held at a rural Hmong village outside of Luang Prabang. My wife and I will be going to Laos mid-November through early January and will attend the book parties, taking photo and video and will report back in this blog and through posting video on YouTube about the current work of Big Brother Mouse.