Savannakhet University set to become first model uni in Laos
Savannakhet University is set to become the first model university on business administration and economic studies in Laos, an initiative it is now developing and intends to reach the goal by 2020.
President of Savannakhet University, Assoc Prof. Dr Bounpong Keorodom told a media team from Vientiane Times and the National Radio during their visit to the university last week that the university will also be a model in terms of buildings, libraries, curriculums and infrastructure.
The university campus will cover 300 hectares.
The new design has been funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The government approved a budget of 250 billion kip (US$31 million) through the National Assembly two years ago for the model university. Since then, infrastructure work has almost been completed on over 300 hectares in Nongpheu village of Kaysone district, Prof. Dr Bounpong said.
“Now, the ADB has also provided US$40 million, of which US$23 million is grant aid and the rest is a loan. Our government has already signed a contract with the bank. So, our university will receive about US$28 million from this contract and the rest we will provide to other universities under the Education and Sports Ministry.”
“We receive more than other universities as we know our university is set to be first model in Laos. We will not only link our university domestically but we will also link to Asean and internationally. Our model university is expected to be finished in 2020 or if not it will be finished by 2025,” Prof. Dr Bounpong said.
He explained that of the entire budget for the construction of the model university, 53 percent would be invested in infrastructure, which will include both grant aid and loan money from the ADB.
“At our model university that is now under construction, all roads inside the area of the university are now completed with concrete pavement and an agricultural building is also now under construction and will be the first building to be completed.
Our agricultural students expect to move to study in this new building in April this year,” Prof. Dr Bounpong noted.
He added that the new area will also include other facilities inside the university like other modern universities from other countries.
The current university location has a total of 291 staff, of which 258 are lecturers. There ar lecturers e more than 4,120 students in six faculties with 33 subjects and two subjects of master's degrees along with one IT Centre.
The master's degree just opened over a year ago and master's degrees will open for a further three to five subjects in 2020 after completion of the model university.
Meanwhile, the current university location also has 300 students able to stay in dormitory accommodation while other students can rent guesthouses near the university. When the new university is completed in 2020, it will be able to cater to a student population of 8,000 people.
“Currently, our university is teaching in three timeslots, those being morning, afternoon and evening. Each year, over 4,000 students graduate from upper secondary schools but our university can only receive 750 students who have graduated from upper secondary schools. Of these 750 students, 20 percent of these will receive scholarships.”
Those students come from the provinces of Savannakhet, Borikhamxay, and Khammuan, as the university is responsible for tertiary education in the central part of the country. Assoc Prof. Dr Bounpong said the rest of the students who graduated from upper secondary schools would be able to apply to study at other colleges and vocational schools in the provinces.
“Our university can currently share human resources with other universities in the world, especially in our region. We can invite lecturers from other countries where we have networks to come to teach in our universities and we also send our staff to upgrade their education in various subjects with other universities in Asean and other countries,” Dr Bounpong explained.
“Currently, six doctoral staff and 70 master lecturers are studying overseas and in the next two years we will have a total staff including 15 doctors and 130 master's degree holders at our university, which this part of our plan to develop the human resources necessary to be a model university.”
There are also a large number of bachelor's degree holders as part of the staff, who are already well prepared, Dr Bounpong added. Every year, his university also has many visitors who provide lectures as part of various lesson exchange programmes, mainly from western countries and other Asean nations.
Since the establishment of Savannakhet University, over 2,000 students have graduated with bachelor's degrees in three rounds of graduation. Most of the students at the university selected business administration and agricultural subjects.
“Graduate students can apply to labour markets here because this is a bigger market than other provinces; it has the special economic zone and there are many factories from Japan, Korea and other countries located here,” Dr Bounpong said.
By Times Reporters
(Latest Update January 24, 2017)