Press Release

NUoL takes further step towards the establishment of the first Master Programme on Population and Development Studies in Lao PDR

16 November 2016

Vientiane, 16 November 2016 - A consultation meeting on the draft curriculum of the Master Programme in Population and Development Studies under the Faculty of Social Sciences was conducted today by the National University of Laos with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Lao PDR, at the Landmark Hotel.

The meeting brought together experts from both academia and line ministries to discuss population issues and challenges in Laos, as well as the draft curriculum of the Master Programme in Population and Development Studies. This is the second time such a consultation was organized to allow broader stakeholders to provide inputs to the curriculum development process.

Till date, the country still has limited capacity in the area of demographic analysis or linking population to development. This Master Programme on Population and Development Studies, the first of its kind, aims to improve the national capacity in this area and to meet the needs for analytical skills on population and socio-economic development

These analytical skills are needed to understand the demographic changes of Lao in the past few decades. For example changes in the age structure of the population, migration patterns; changes in educational and skills structure, changes in state of health and geographic distribution. These population dynamics are of critical importance for planning. The implications of these changes and addressing them in the development planning efforts are vital in order to graduate from the Least Developed Country Status and to achieve Sustainable Development Goals. Hence, understanding these inter-linkages and having capacity to develop a national response is of critical importance.

Ms. Frederika Meijer, UNFPA Representative said: “It is essential to understand the population dynamics such as demographic dividend, migration patterns etc. and to have a group of teachers and students who will be equipped with skills to assess and understand contemporary and future issues of population and development. This group can advise policy makers on population issues and projections for the development planning-process”

Skills and expertise in the area of demographic analysis is still very much limited in Lao PDR. Population Studies will prepare demographers, government officials and social scientists for careers in Government Services, academic and private sector. The programme will help contribute to strengthen a long-term national capacity on demographic analysis to ensure that population factors are taking into consideration to the development of Lao PDR. 

Associate Professor Dr. Phout Simmalavong, President of NUoL, said at the meeting: “Based on the needs assessment conducted, we see the demand from both private and public sectors for the area of population studies which is in line with the current socio-economic situation of the country. We also aim to establish the programme that meets the international and ASEAN standard. From the programme, graduate students will understand population issues that have implications on health, education, employment, urbanization, social security and environment; as well as analytical and research skills that are useful for both public and private sectors.”

NUoL aims to launch the new Master Programme on Population and Development Studies in September 2017. 


For more information, please contact:

Ms Kay Amphone Singhalath– Communications Associate, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Laos

Tel: +856 21 353048, 315547        

Mobile: 020 77776597

Fax: +856 21 353051