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Public Warned About Scholarship Scams

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The Ministry of Education and Sports has issued an announcement warning members of the public to be aware of any supposed agents or brokers who claim to be able to secure scholarships for overseas study in return for payment.

The announcement, released on August 4, came after it emerged that some parents had been tricked into paying money up front in return for promises that their children would receive scholarships to study abroad, especially in either China or Vietnam.

The ministry is urging members of the public who would like to secure overseas scholarships for their children to approach the ministry, provincial education departments and universities directly for information to see if they might be eligible.

Moreover, the ministry has also called for students’ parents who want to send their children to study overseas using their own funds to consult directly with the concerned authorities.

For the 2016-2017 academic year, the ministry has finished researching to select the eligible students to study in China and Vietnam under those government scholarships, in collaboration with the concerned sectors.

This year, the Vietnamese government has provided 1,200 scholarships for Lao students and government officials, while the government of China has provided 110 scholarships, according to the ministry’s Student Affairs Department.

Lao students and government officials will pursue their study at universities and other higher education institutions in both Vietnam and China. The scholarships include bursaries for both short and long term study.

Authorities also warned that anyone who tries to break the rules by either offering inducements or trying to secure scholarships outside the normal channels will be punished according to the law.

Meanwhile anyone who witnesses members of the public or officials engaged in negotiations about scholarships in return for payment should inform the ministry immediately.

The number of Lao students enrolling in universities and other higher education institutions in China and Vietnam has increased steadily compared to previous years.

However those students who do receive scholarships still face difficulties in terms of their basic knowledge of the Chinese and Vietnamese language and often end up returning home before completing their courses.

But future Lao students both in China and Vietnam will find things easier after the ministry announced a new scheme to monitor the three-months to one year training courses in the Chinese and Vietnamese languages.

The ministry will look at extending the duration of the language training courses if it is deemed necessary.

The scheme has become a priority project of the ministry with the aim of making life easier for Lao students and officials when they go to study abroad.

Source: Vientiane Times