Today in many isolated rural areas in Lao PDR, 47.1% of girls compared to 27.7% of boys have never been to school. More than 50% of ethnic minority girls never attend school. Most only complete two grades and never achieve literacy. More than 4,000 remote villages have no schools. Transition rates are poor. Girls in Lao PDR make up 43% of primary enrollment but only 37% of secondary and 17% of university enrollment.
The educational program has been running since 2008 and concentrates on supporting Lao girls to enter school at Grade 1 and continue their primary and secondary education. This is a key factor in bringing people and their country out of poverty and improving their health.
It is a well known fact that girls in Laos face many barriers in attending school. The major barriers include: male preference, attitudes towards girls’ early marriage, negative schooling, cultural taboos, resistance to co-ed classes, school distances that exceed the local security/morality code, teacher absenteeism that puts girls’ security at risk, lack of female teachers, financial and domestic pressures and expectations.
The Lotus Education Fund aims to facilitate and support girls into schools and if possible set up scholarships that will provide an avenue for support should they wish to continue their studies at a tertiary level in Savannakhet or Vientiane.
Despite remarkable progress towards achieving gender equality in education, gender disparities remain in many countries. 31 million girls are still out of school around the world. There are many obstacles that prevent girls from getting an education such as poverty, geographical isolation, early marriage, cultural values, and gender-based violence. Investing in education brings high returns. Girls' education is fundamental to a country's social and economic well-being as it promotes the health and welfare of the next generation.
- Education gives people critical skills and tools to help them better provide for themselves and their children
- Education helps people work better and can create opportunities for sustainable and viable economic growth now and in the future
- Education helps fight the spread of HIV/AIDS and other diseases, reduces mother and child mortality and helps improve health
- Education encourages transparency, good governance, stability and helps fight against graft and corruption.
Global Education Goals
During the World Education Forum in Dakar, Senegal, in 2000, 164 governments pledged to achieve Education for All and identified six goals to meet the learning needs of children, youth, and adults by 2015.
In the same year, the Millennium Development Goals were adopted at the UN summit in New York, where world leaders agreed that all boys and girls should complete a full cycle of primary education by 2015.
The Rio+20 Conference in 2012 brought together world leaders and participants from governments, the private sector, NGOs, and other groups to develop a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs follow and expand on the MDGs and aim to respond to new challenges and be coherent with the post 2015 development agenda.
Education is a fundamental right. Despite great progress in the last 15 years, millions of children are still denied their right to education. This is because there are many barriers and obstacles that are hindering children's access to and completion of education.