Royal Government of Cambodia and partners protect young children’s education with 760,180 home learning packages

28 September 2021
© UNICEF Cambodia/2021/Antoine Raab
UNICEF Cambodia/2021/Antoine Raab

Phnom Penh, 28 September 2021 - Today, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS), supported by its Capacity Development Partnership Fund (CDPF) partners, the European Union (EU), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Swedish Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), and the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), formally announced the distribution of 760,180 home learning packs to support young children affected by school disruptions in Cambodia. The distribution, starting this week, will reach every Grade 1 and Grade 2 student in all 7,304 public primary schools across the 25 provinces. An additional set of materials has been developed to support 5,000 minority language students in Cambodia’s northeastern provinces to learn in their own language.

While many schools have begun to re-open, the majority are using a blended approach which combines face-to-face learning and home learning. The new home learning packs have been designed to support children in classrooms and at home, making them relevant and effective in all situations. They will also be invaluable to children whose schools remain closed due to COVID-19 risk factors, ensuring they are not left behind. 

The packs include age-appropriate books and self-study materials to improve reading, writing, spelling and mathematics, all complementing the MoEYS Grade 1 and 2 curricula. They also include information on how parents can support their children’s education and continue to protect them from COVID-19, accompanied by a bar of soap and delivered in an environmentally friendly, reusable bag. 

The distribution of the home learning packs was announced at a launch event held in Phnom Penh this morning by videoconference. Speakers included Dr. Hang Chuon Naron, Minister of Education, Youth and Sport, Carmen Moreno, the Ambassador of the European Union to Cambodia,  Magnus Saemundsson, First Secretary of the Swedish Embassy, Hanh Nguyen, USAID/Cambodia Deputy Mission Director, and Foroogh Foyouzat, UNICEF’s Representative in Cambodia.

His Excellency Hang Chuon Naron, Cambodia’s Minister of Education, Youth and Sport, said: “This has been a very challenging time for education, around the whole world, including here in Cambodia. We appreciate the support of valued partners such as the EU, SIDA, USAID, GPE and UNICEF under the Capacity Development Partnership Fund (CDPF) in helping us support students throughout this pandemic. We are beginning to reopen schools now, but we have to do so with caution, adopting an approach which blends in-person learning with home learning. These new materials will help to make this approach successful, and are particularly crucial to the 50% of students who cannot access online learning in their home. Thanks to this support, our Grade 1 and 2 students will be prepared when classrooms are fully open again.”

Carmen Moreno, Ambassador of the European Union to Cambodia, said: “Schools will  re-open but these children will never be six or seven again, the age that provides the best window of opportunity for children to learn to read, spell and count well. We cannot let these children down; they have a right to access education even in the difficult context of the COVID-19 pandemic. We know that paper-based learning is more effective for learning amongst this age group than online learning, which is why we have been so pleased to work in partnership with the Royal Government of Cambodia and all our CDPF partners to deliver the home learning packs. The learning material distribution to all grades 1 and 2 in Cambodia illustrates the collective efforts and solidarity of the EU and its Member States -Team Europe- against the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Foroogh Foyouzat, UNICEF Representative in Cambodia, said: “The Government and partners such as UNICEF have worked hard to support school children across Cambodia with distance learning materials ever since classrooms first closed. However, we know that online lessons aren’t as effective as face-to-face lessons or even paper-based learning. That’s why we are proud to have worked with the Ministry of Education on developing these Home Learning Packs to complement the Ministry’s curriculum, and to distribute these to every village in Cambodia, for every grade 1 and 2 child.  As schools begin to re-open, these packs are here to make sure no child is left behind.”

Magnus Saemundsson, First Secretary of the Swedish Embassy, said: “Evidence found in research all around the world shows that education can make a lasting difference in children’s lives. But education’s not just good for the individual, it’s good for nations. Investing in education isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s smart economics. This evidence shows that, on average, each additional year of education boosts a person’s income by 10 per cent and increases a country’s GDP by 18 per cent. The closing of all schools in Cambodia to prevent the spread of the pandemic has resulted in a huge learning loss, like in most countries in the world. Now, as schools are opening in a safe mode it is essential that the blended learning of face-to-face and home learning will be successful. This home learning package will be most useful to enable this.” 

“USAID is a long-time and proud supporter of the Cambodian people,” said Ms. Hanh Nguyen, USAID/Cambodia Deputy Mission Director. “Our collaboration with the diverse partners present here today, including Cambodia’s dedicated primary school teachers and students, is a testament to that support.  USAID believes a dedicated team sharing their skills and technical expertise can produce a concrete result that has far-reaching impact. The materials that are being distributed today were developed by Cambodian educators, Ministry experts, local authors, and illustrators. They will serve as valuable resources for schools and communities not only during this period of COVID disruption, but for generations to come.”

 

Background

The Capacity Development Partnership Fund (CDPF) is a partnership between the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport in Cambodia (MoEYS), the European Union (EU), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and UNICEF.  Through a pooled funding mechanism, the CDPF provides support to implement capacity development priorities in the education sector. The CDPF entered its third phase in 2018, which will continue until June 2023, supporting capacity building initiatives with approximately US$32 million. This new phase builds on the successes of the previous two phases, implemented since 2011 for a total additional amount of US$24 million.

The CDPF has continued to support MoEYS during the COVID-19 pandemic, including through the distribution of hygiene materials in 2020 to all schools, appropriate communication, development of on-going learning materials and other capacity building initiatives.

 

About the European Union

The European Union (EU) is a unique economic and political union between 27 EU countries that together cover much of the continent. It is Cambodia's second biggest trading partner and, together with its Member States, one of its largest development cooperation partners. 

The EU is the largest contributor to the education sector in Cambodia. The European Union and its Member States invest in international cooperation for education more than the rest of the world combined. 

Follow the European Union Delegation to Cambodia on Facebook.

 

Contact 

H.E. Dr. ROS Soveacha, MoEYS Spokesperson,

Tel: +855 78 755 556

E-mail: soveacha2002@yahoo.com

Pok Poun, Press and Information Officer

EU Delegation to the Kingdom of Cambodia

Tel: (+855) 12 347 716

E-mail: pok.poun@eeas.europa.eu

Media contacts

Rudina Vojvoda
Chief of Communication
UNICEF Cambodia
Tel: +85523260204;ext=434
Bunly Meas
Communication Specialist
UNICEF Cambodia
Tel: +85523260204;ext=435

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.

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