chapter  14
Lao language policy
WithCliff Meyers
Pages 13

The ethnic groups associated with the Language Families arrived in Laos at different periods of history, with earlier arrivals represented by the Austro-Asiatic language groups who are divided between the Khmu language speakers further north and smaller splinter ethnic groups in southern Lao. In 1930, the French established the Buddhist Institute in Phnom Penh and soon after, the Chantabouly Buddhist Institute in Laos – dedicated to language, religious and cultural studies. Schools were providing three years of primary education in Lao language in the ‘liberated zones’ and the curriculum became more formalised during the late 1960s. The main changes introduced to Lao language in Vongvachit’s Lao Grammar are in terms of simplified spelling and terminology. Policies regarding foreign language were established as ‘Text’ through the National Curriculum. In 1976, the first National Curriculum produced under the new government did not include the teaching of foreign languages in primary school.