Safe Learning Spaces
Cambodia’s schooling environment is not always conducive to children’s learning due to inappropriate teaching practices and poor maintenance of facilities. The provision of clean drinking water, toilets, hand-washing areas and hygiene education are major determinants of education quality in schools. Children in schools without adequate water and sanitation facilities are more likely to suffer from diarrhoea and respiratory infections which can result in their irregular attendance and dropout from school.
Despite evidence showing the positive impact of safe water and clean toilets on the quality of education for children, the supply of appropriate facilities in schools remains insufficient across Cambodia. In fact, education data indicates a decreasing trend in school water coverage, with 42 per cent of primary schools without water supply in school-year 2013/14, up from 40 per cent in 2005/6. Even where toilets are available, their condition and number often do not meet acceptable standards.
In line with the Government’s Child-Friendly School Policy, UNICEF is working to ensure that at least 15 per cent of primary schools in selected provinces have sustained drinking water and adequate sanitation and hygiene facilities.
Alongside improving school facilities, UNICEF also works to increase positive teaching practices in schools. UNICEF research has revealed that corporal punishment continues to be practised by teachers in the classroom, often making schools unsafe for children. In response to this, UNICEF trains teachers on positive, alternative forms of discipline that uphold children’s rights and dignity.
What We Do