Government officials, private sector representatives and development partners met at a debriefing workshop in Vientiane last week for the Mid-Term Review of the Skills for Tourism Project (LAO/029). Being half-way through the project’s implementation phase, an external evaluation team from B,S,S. Economic Consultants (Basel, Switzerland) conducted an assessment of the results achieved by the project to date. The assessment focused on four pillars, namely the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of the project results. The mid-term review is considered an important milestone and learning opportunity to reflect on what has been successful so far and what aspects of the project may further attention.
The Skills for Tourism Project, which supports improvements in tourism and hospitality vocational education and skills development in Lao PDR, has a particular emphasis on supporting people from disadvantaged backgrounds to acquire the skills needed to work in hotels, restaurants and the greater tourism economy.
In his opening remarks, Mr Nouphanh Outsa, Director General of the Technical and Vocational Education Department, Ministry of Education and Sports, highlighted the importance of workforce development to improve the performance of the tourism sector in the country, and acknowledged the valuable contribution of the Skills for Tourism Project in this regard.
Mrs Barbara Jäggi Hasler, Deputy Director of Cooperation/Head of Employment and Skills Domain for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) emphasized the substantial achievements of the project since it began in September 2016, including support to the Labour Market Information System and the development of competency-based programmes and curricula.
Also speaking at the review meeting, Ms Julie Wagner, Attachée at the Embassy of Luxembourg in Lao PDR commented that investment in vocational education and skills development is of utmost importance to take advantage of the demographic window of opportunity for the young Lao population and, since the project is now half-way through its implementation, it is a good moment to review what has been done and how to proceed in the future.
During their mission in Lao PDR, the experts from B,S,S. Economic Consultants interviewed over 30 different stakeholders from public and private sector as well as training providers, employers, graduates and teachers. The team travelled to three different locations, including Luang Prabang, Pakse and Vientiane Capital.
The overall assessment of the evaluation team is that the project is highly relevant, well managed and likely to achieve its goals by 2021. The project is aligned with the National Socio-Economic Development Plan 2016 - 2020, as well as the Education Sector and TVET Development plans of Lao PDR. It is likely that the objective of 5,000 beneficiaries, who participated in vocational education and skills development programmes supported by the project, will be surpassed. However, the project also faces challenges, especially in terms of sustainability of results after its completion. This is of particular concern in terms of ensuring the sustainable financing of vocational education and skills development in Lao PDR in the medium- to long-term.
The report of the mid-term review will be completed by the end of June and the findings and recommendations further considered by the Governments of Lao PDR, the Grandy Duchy of Luxembourg and Switzerland.↑ To the top