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EU reaffirms support for govt’s education, nutrition initiatives

The Delegation of the European Union to Laos (EU) has reiterated its support for the government’s ongoing efforts to develop and improve the education system and nutrition in all areas of the country.
This includes financial and technical assistance for initiatives such as the Basic Education Support Programme and Nutrition Budget Support Programme.
To discuss these issues, the Ministry of Education and Sports on Wednesday held the Lao-EU Budget Support Steering Committee Meeting for the Education and the Nutrition Sectors.

Minister of Education and Sports, Mrs Sengdeuane Lachanthaboun; Ambassador of the European Union to Laos, Mr Leo Faber; Deputy Minister of Health, Associate Prof. Dr Phouthone Muongpak, and representatives of other ministries attended the meeting.  
Mrs Sengdeuane, as a representative of the government, expressed her appreciation to the European Union for its long-term partnership in assisting the education and health sectors.  
She noted that 14 million euros were received from the EU recently to support basic education in Laos and about 4.8 million euros for nutrition planning.
This was substantial assistance and very important to assist in developing the education and health sectors, she said, requesting that ministries and organisations cooperate effectively to maximise the investment.
Laos still faces challenges in developing human resources, and Mrs Sengdeuane hoped the European Union would continue technical and financial support for the education and health sectors.
“We expect the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Planning and Investment will continue to set the education and health sectors as investment priorities for human resource development,” she added.
Mr Faber used the meeting to reaffirm the EU’s commitment to supporting the implementation of the Lao National Strategy on Education and Nutrition, to provide access to quality education for all children of all backgrounds, with adequate conditions, including access to nutrition, water, and health.
He mentioned the ongoing financial assistance, including 7 million euros that were transferred recently to the Lao government under the Education Budget Support Programme.
“Allow me to remind you that the Education and Nutrition Budget Support Programme total amount made available is 97 million euros. Of this, 25.8 million euros have so far been disbursed, while 71.2 million euros will be available from 2020 to 2022,” he added.
The meeting heard that with Laos heading towards Least Developed Country graduation in 2024, this would require investment in human capital as an obligation, not an option.

By Sangkhomsay Bubphanouvong
(Latest Update December 20, 2019)

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