High Level Advisory Council Meeting
Lao Plaza Hotel, 7 May 2015
- H.E. Mr Somdy Douangdy, Minister of Planning and Investment
- H.E. Dr Kikeo Chanthaboury, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment
- H.E. Dr Khammoun Viphongxay, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs
- Senior officials, members of the National Assembly , Bill Pennington and his team from the Laos-Australia Institute, friends and colleagues.
I am delighted to welcome you to this first High Level Advisory Council meeting for the Laos-Australia Institute – or the LAI as we like to call it.
- Today, I believe, is an opportunity for us all to reflect on the progress of the program over its first year, and to ensure it continues to support Lao Government priorities.
Both our governments share a fundamental belief that education and human resource development are vital for economic growth.
- For over 50 years, Australia has supported Lao citizens to undertake tertiary study in Australia and in recent years, to ensure outstanding Lao school leavers in the provinces can obtain a university education here in Laos under the LANS program.
Australia is committed to working with you to help build the kind of workforce the Lao economy needs, now and into the future.
- Through the LAI, we are providing strategic support to the Government of the Lao PDR through a range of integrated HRD approaches.
I want to congratulate and thank our colleagues at the LAI, and their partners across a number of Lao institutions, for the progress achieved during the Institute’s first year. It’s an impressive record of achievement.
- The LAI has, over the last 12 months, established close working relationships with the Ministry of Education and Sports, National HRD Commission, and HRD focal points in 28 Lao government agencies;
- It continues to manage a successful Australia Awards scholarships program, strengthening the links between Australia Awards and the HRD needs of key government agencies;
- It has extended the Laos-Australia National Scholarships (or LANS program) to a new location outside Vientiane – Souphanouvong University in Luang Prabang;
- The LAI has revised the curriculum and materials for adult English language learning – to help strengthen English language training across government; and
- Its has begun renovations of the Foreign Language Resource Centre in downtown Vientiane, which will house the LAI, alongside Laos’ English and French language resource centres.
2015 is an important year for Laos’ human resource development agenda, as the Lao Government finalises a new National HRD Strategy and work plan.
- This strategy will guide Lao Government and development partner efforts in HRD over the next decade.
In Australia’s experience, an HRD Strategy is most effective when it does two things well:
- Firstly, when it articulates the kind of workforce required to support economic growth over the long term; and
- Secondly, when the strategy clearly identifies the policies and resources necessary to develop such a workforce.
Ensuring the national HRD strategy’s core ambitions are reflected in the 8th NSEDP will also be important to whole-of-government efforts to strengthen skills across agencies.
Given the importance of the HRD strategy, Australia is ready to assist the Lao Government in any way we can.
- As well as providing technical support for the drafting process, we are looking forward to supporting two study visits later this month to look at HRD policies in Australia and the Philippines.
Australia will also be working with a range of government agencies to strengthen human resource management capacity through a new competency based training program.
- It’s an exciting initiative that will deliver Australian qualifications to Lao Government HR managers through on-the-job training modules.
- I look forward to hearing more details of this later today.
I would like to thank our friends and colleagues in the Government of the Lao PDR for their leadership on HRD issues, and for helping to make the LAI’s first year a success.
I hope today will be a productive discussion that will generate further momentum for our collaboration on HR issues.
Lastly, I want Australia to remain a responsive, pragmatic development partner for the Lao PDR. Delivering the most effective and relevant assistance we can. As a partner you can turn to when you need support.
- As always, we would welcome any feedback on what we can do to make Australia’s support more effective to help address the Lao PDR’s development goals.