Australia has supported more than 1,200 Lao leaders to develop their skills and knowledge through tertiary study in Australia and to contribute further to the development of Laos.
For the 2014 intake, a total of 87 new awards were offered to Laos, comprising 50 long-term and 37 short-term awards. There will be approximately 50 new long-term awards offered to Lao PDR in 2015. A total of 582 awards were offered from 2007 to 2014, comprising 421 long-term awards and 161 short-term awards. Australia Awards focus on areas of importance to the development of Laos, including education, trade and rural development. The Laos-Australia Institute administers the Australia Awards in Lao PDR.
More than 97 per cent of scholars successfully graduate and return home, with most working in fields that support aid priorities. Half of these scholarships are targeted for the government sector and half are open to the private sector. The aim is to directly address skills shortages within the country and improve capacity to create and implement sound policy and management. Longer term, this will develop a core of tertiary trained nationals able to contribute to Laos' development.
A Laos-Australia National Scholarships program complements the Australia Awards. Through this program, Australia provides 70 scholarships annually to students from disadvantaged backgrounds to study in Laos. The program will enable the students to graduate with bachelor degrees from the National University of Laos. This program improves the academic and English language skills of the scholars, building their eligibility for further studies overseas.