The overall aim of the project is to strengthen the forest-related higher education system in Laos to improve domestic capacity to sustainably manage forests for the benefit of the people and the environment, while at the same time enabling Laos to effectively respond to the demands and opportunities of international processes such as the Agenda 2030 (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
The specific objectives are:
- To support three Lao HEIs to develop and improve their respective MSc forestry programs as follow:
1.1 Curricular review and upgrade of the existing MSc forestry program at National University of Laos (NUoL);
1.2 Curricular development and support for the accreditation of a new MSc forestry program at Savannakhet University (SKU) in cooperation with Hue University in Vietnam;
1.3 Support the Souphanouvong University (SU) in the development of a new MSc forestry program, build on the experiences of NUoL and SKU, and to prepare a roadmap for implementation.
- Improve the employability of graduates by matching the curriculum with national and regional needs, promoting internships and work experience opportunities with relevant employers, and enhancing the training capacities of academic staff.
- Support South-South cooperation and exchange to improve the quality and availability of teaching and training capacity in Laos.
- Strengthen links and cooperation between higher education institutions in Laos and Europe, including academic and staff visits.
These objectives address the four key issues (curricular upgrade, regional desparity, insufficient capacities and centralization (see Section E.1) hindering progress in the advancement of forestry high education in Lao PDR. At the end of the project new attractive and development-relevant options for post-graduate education in forestry will be available in the south (SKU) and north (SU) of Laos. The curricular upgrade based on the consultation of key stakeholders and experts from European partners will also support the further development and internationalization of the MSc forestry program at NUoL. The involvement of the private sector and institutions at the subnational and international level, and the formalization of professional training options will improve the employability of the newly graduate experts from the three Lao HEIs. Success of the project will be monitored and assessed by quantifying the number of professional training options and by comparing retention rates before the beginning of the project and after its culmination.