Continuous learning during COVID-19

UNICEF and partners are enabling children across the country to continue learning despite the pandemic.

UNICEF Cambodia
A boy in his home in Phnom Penh, Cambodia following on-line classes provided by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) with support from UNICEF.
UNICEF Cambodia/2020/Kanha Chan
06 May 2020

UNICEF’s work in continuous learning, as a response to the COVID-19 education crisis in Cambodia is made possible due to the generous support of the Government of Japan, the Government of Sweden and the Global Partnership for Education

Phnom Penh, 4th May 2020 – The COVID-19 pandemic has forced 810 million children out of schools worldwide. Cambodian children are facing the same reality. All of Cambodia’s 13,300 schools have been closed since March 16th, leading many children and families to seek distance learning opportunities to continue their education.

To respond to this education crisis, UNICEF is working closely with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) to establish continuous learning activities from early childhood through to primary, lower and upper secondary education. Distance learning assets, including videos and e-lessons, are being broadcast through various social media platforms, TV and radio, aiming to reach every household in Cambodia.

H.E. Dr. Hang Chuon Naron, Minister of Education, Youth and Sport, is personally encouraging families to support the education of their children, despite the pandemic. In his latest public video address, H.E. Dr. Hang Chuon Naron said: “I would like to appeal to parents, guardians and students to follow the radio broadcasting program and facilitate full learning for your children.”

For UNICEF, one of the key concerns has been to ensure that no child is left behind - that every child, despite their ability, gender, socio-economic, or ethnic background has access to learning opportunities.

To this end, UNICEF, in collaboration with CARE, has supported MoEYS to produce a multilingual educational radio programme in three languages, Tumpuon, Kreung and Bunorng, for children in pre-primary and primary education (grades 1-3).

”The multilingual education radio programme is not only helping to address the learning needs of some of the most vulnerable children in Cambodia, but is complementing other diverse distance learning services being delivered by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, with UNICEF support, through use of online platforms and TV. As a result, many thousands of children are able to keep learning,” said Katheryn Bennett, UNICEF Cambodia’s Chief of Education.

The multilingual lessons are only a part of UNICEF’s work on early childhood education. UNICEF is also supporting MoEYS to develop a radio programme for small children and their parents with practical advice relevant to day-to-day life in remote communities; as well as 23 educational videos, accessible through various channels. These videos are full of fun activities and educational instruction, aiming to strengthen children’s development and learning.

For older children, UNICEF is assisting MoEYS to produce a range of continuous learning materials, including 70 video e-lessons for primary school students and 633 learning videos for secondary school students, in six core subjects. To ensure that the online lessons are inclusive, Cambodia’s National Institute for Special Education (NISE) has integrated sign language in many of the e-lessons, starting with grade 9 and 12 and expanding to primary grades 4-6.

Evidence shows the e-learning lesson videos are being watched on all channels.

For example, the primary school videos have been watched 986,609 times! Another video produced by MoEYS’ Primary Education Department was published on Facebook and in only seven hours, it had 17,388 views, 292 likes and 110 shares.

In his video address, H.E. Dr. Hang Chuon Naron thanked all partners for supporting the education sector and joining forces to fight against the impact COVID-19.

UNICEF remains committed to working closely with the Royal Government of Cambodia and all partners so that every child can learn.