Search here for the best international schools in Laos; you can find a list of selected international schools at the bottom of this page.
Landlocked, rural and poor, Laos is one of the world’s few remaining communist states. Yet a vibrant international school sector has sprung up in the capital Vientiane since the country opened its doors to the world in the 1990s.
Schools modelled on the French, British, American and Australian education systems or offering the International Baccalaureate programme serve the children of expatriates and Laotian elites. Most teach in English but some offer bilingual instruction in English and Lao.
Vientiane International School, which offers the Primary Years, Middle Years and Diploma programmes of the International Baccalaureate, is the only authorised IB World School in Laos. More than 500 students from 46 countries attend its purpose-built campus, which boasts facilities including a state-of-the-art library, an eight-lane swimming pool, science labs, arts studios, sports fields and a fitness studio.
The French International High School Vientiane or Lycee Francais Josue Hoffet, which offers French-medium primary and secondary education, is expanding, with a new secondary school building for 450 students in the city’s Hadxaykhao district due to open in 2018. The new campus will also provide sports and cultural facilities plus a study hall and students’ centre.
The Australian International School, which is run by the Sengsavanh Education Group, is authorised to teach the curriculum of New South Wales in years seven to nine and offers Cambridge IGCSEs from years 10 to 12. Montessori and Waldorf schools are among other options available.
Demand is strong from expats working in the city’s fast-growing international business zones, the diplomatic corps and non-government organisations, while Laos has the youngest population in Asia, with 35 per cent of citizens aged 14 or younger.
More than 10 private schools have been set up in Vientiane over recent decades but many are small and enrolment can be competitive. Admissions rules vary and some schools may give preference to students based on nationality, when space is at a premium.
Parents are advised to check that international schools are accredited by a recognised body such as the Council of International Schools, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges or the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
Bringing in universal primary education in the Lao language to replace the elite French-medium system of the colonial era has been a key goal of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic since its inception in 1975. In 2015, 93 per cent of primary age children in Laos were enrolled at school, according to UNESCO.