VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/Asia News Network): Construction of the Railway Vocational Technical College has begun in Vientiane, to train the staff who will be needed to operate the railways that are planned for Laos.
The Technical and Vocational Education Department of the Ministry of Education and Sports said the college will offer six courses and enrol about 990 students when it opens.
Courses will include subjects relating to trains, railway engineering, electrical repair and maintenance, and station services.
Graduates will have the opportunity to work on the Laos-China Railway, which is set to become operational at the end of this year.
The college will cost more than 400 million yuan to build. Construction began on September 20 and is scheduled for completion in 32 months.
As well as classrooms, there will be student dormitories, a library, and sports facillities. The college will also provide additional practical training for Lao students currently in China.
Located in Phokham village, Xaythany district, the college is the first of its kind in Laos and is being built on a 14-hectare site.
The college was designed and will be built by the Yunnan Construction and Investment Holding Group Co., Ltd. and Yunnan Design Institute Group Co., Ltd.
As part of preparations for study at the college, Lao students have been taking courses in railway operation in other countries since 2018, learning about the operation of electricity systems to power trains, other technical matters, and railway operations in general.
Government officials have attended training courses in various fields to support international cooperation projects, the Ministry of Education and Sports said.
Education authorities are encouraging students who have finished secondary school to enrol in various fields of vocational education to support socio-economic development.
Scholarships have been provided for outstanding students, including those lacking opportunities, people from smaller ethnic groups, females, and people with disabilities.
The government will improve regulations to support the human resource development plan to 2025 and better align training to meet the needs of the job market, particularly in agriculture, teaching, nursing and railway operations.
The Laos-China Railway will run from the Boten border crossing that connects northern Laos and China, down to Vientiane, with a maximum operating speed of 160 kph.
The railway is scheduled to officially open in early December.