ChildFund Cambodia is helping to boost the stocks of qualified teachers in rural areas by providing scholarships in remote villages.
The project has already helped to train 45 young teachers in areas where there are shortages of quality teachers and schools are under-resourced.
Although the right to a basic education is constitutionally guaranteed to every Cambodian child, a considerable gap remains between policy and reality.
ChildFund is partnering with communities and the Cambodian government to close the gap.
The root cause of the gap between education policy and reality in schools involves a complex interaction between supply and demand factors.
Teacher shortages and rudimentary educational facilities are prominent supply-side factors that have impeded quality and participation rates in Cambodia’s education system.
Low pay and a lack of opportunities to learn basic teaching skills are among the factors deterring new teachers from entering the workforce. Furthermore, many graduates cannot afford to be properly trained.
Improving teacher capacity is key to the Cambodian government’s education policy.
Becoming a government-approved teacher is a rigorous process. If candidates are interested, they apply to take a national teacher’s examination. If they pass this exam they are admitted into a national teacher training college centre, where they undertake a two-year course.
Many candidates must relocate to be closer to the centre because there is only a few centres in Cambodia. It is a large undertaking for an individual requiring extensive training and significant funding.
ChildFund Cambodia has been long-time supporter of working with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport in to achieve national education goals.
The success of New Generation Schools and the Easy-2-Learn projects have already demonstrated the strength of this partnership, Minister of Education, Youth and Sport Hang Chuon Naron said.
“I am highly appreciative of the support from ChildFund which help the government to implement our educational reform policies especially the expanding of Easy to Learn project, a project that engage community to ensure effective learning and teaching,” he said.
ChildFund Cambodia decided work in areas with a severe teacher shortage and where Easy-2-Learn is already present.
In these areas ChildFund has a strong knowledge of potential candidates for the programme, established resources, personnel, and connections with the community.
The best and brightest young adults were found and trained as Community Teachers.
Since ChildFund is already working in these areas, it was easier to identify the prospective community teachers.
ChildFund provided a basic salary and led the vital training that allowed 45 young men and women to gain experience in teaching.
After dedicated mentoring, these teachers were encouraged to take the entrance exam to attend the training college centres that will allow them to become a state-qualified teacher.
All of ChildFund-selected community teachers passed and were accepted. As they underwent their two years of state-led training, ChildFund provided each individual with a $600 scholarship to help them cover essentials and transportation.
ChildFund’s support helps significantly alleviate the initial financial obstacles that might have deterred them from training to become a government certified teacher.
“I am happy to be able to help my community and feel proud that a child from this village grew to become a teacher of the school,” said Meng, 22, who graduated teacher from the Svay Rieng school where he got support from ChildFund the whole two years.
Now, there are more than 45 talented young men and women who are qualified teachers. They work in remote schools throughout the country and are fully supported by the Cambodian government.
ChildFund Cambodia believes investing in young teachers is a sustainable method of ensuring quality education is available for every child in Cambodia.