Snapshots of Early Childhood Education in Northern Lao PDR

© Plan International

The ‘Snapshots’ report series presents preliminary findings from the Early Childhood Education (ECE) study. The ECE study was initiated to evaluate the Early Childhood Education Project in Lao PDR and provides a comprehensive picture of the environments children in Northern Lao PDR are growing up in, and how this impacts children’s early development.

Snapshot 1: Project Background and Baseline Data Demographics

This snapshot describes baseline demographic information of the 7,520 children aged 2-5 years old and their families across 5 provinces, 14 districts, and 376 villages in Northern Lao PDR including how they live.

Snapshot 2: Child Health and Nutrition

Good health and nutrition are essential not only for children’s survival, but for healthy development and growth. To promote holistic child development, good health and nutrition is critical.

  • Children in Northern Lao PDR are not receiving adequate health and nutrition services.
  • The rates of child stunting and undernutrition are of great public health concern.
  •  Immunization rates are well below international standards.

Snapshot 3: Child Development

Early childhood development is considered to be the most important phase in life, which determines later health, well-being, learning, behavior and achievements across the life course.

  • Children in Northern Lao PDR are developing poorly, with disparities in child development across different ethnic groups and family backgrounds.
  • Lao-Tai children are developing better than Khmun and Hmong children, and children of parents with some education are doing better than children of parents with no education.
  • Results also reflect very low rates of parent-child interaction and opportunities for children to learn, and this appears to be having a negative impact on child development.

Snapshot 4: Services and Facilities

Access to quality health care and early education promotes good child health and prepares children for continued learning at school.

  • Lao PDR has made significant improvements in the coverage, quality, infrastructure, delivery and financing of health and education services in the past decade, but early education coverage in Northern Lao PDR is insufficient.
  • While health service coverage is better than that of ECE, further work is needed for Lao PDR to achieve both universal health coverage and access to quality ECE for all children.
  • Where they are available, these services are related to better levels of early childhood development.