Vientiane, May 21, 2014
Five high-school graduates from the Theun-Hinboun Power Company (THPC) School at Khamkeuth, Khammouane Province, are currently studying university courses on scholarships made available by THPC.
The THPC School opened in 1996 at the company’s operations camp in Khammouane and was initially run by the district education department. As the local community grew rapidly alongside the hydropower project, demand for school places increased and so THPC expanded the premises and took direct charge of running the school, which became a private institution.
The school charges a nominal fee of 100,000 kip (US$12.5) per year. Half of the 385 pupils currently enrolled are the children of THPC staff and the other half come from surrounding villages. Each year THPC invests about a quarter of million US dollars in the school, which has set itself a goal of developing human resources in Khounkham District so that the next generation can contribute to national development in Laos.
In 2012 THPC decided to trial an extension of the education service they provide to local people by offering five university scholarships to graduates of the school. Applications were open to all students from the project area (excluding the children of THPC staff), providing they came from low income families, had studied at the THPC School for four years, and recorded a high average grade during their time at the school.
Five students were eventually selected by a committee from the school and company. These young women and men then applied for university positions in Laos in the knowledge that THPC would cover the costs of their study. The company provides each student with a monthly allowance to cover their living costs and also pays any study fees required by the university. The students are free to choose their own courses and places of study and are not tied to THPC in any way during or after their years of study.
A series of three articles on the THPC website looks at the progress made by these rural students at universities away from home and reflects on their experiences and hopes for the future.
Student features: Ms Aloun