The Education, Youth and Sport Ministry – in collaboration with Sweden and Unicef – are working to protect children’s education by providing textbooks for core subjects to prevent students from dropping out of school while their schools are being used as Covid-19 quarantine centres.
A joint press release from the education ministry, the Swedish government and Unicef said although the new academic year began on Jan 11, there are 13 primary schools, 18 lower secondary schools and 19 upper secondary schools in the north-western provinces of Battambang, Banteay Meanchey and Oddor Meanchey that could not open as scheduled.
It said those schools could not open because they are being used as quarantine sites for Cambodian migrant workers returning from Thailand as part of the government’s ongoing Covid-19 transmission prevention efforts.
The education ministry, it said, rapidly undertook an assessment of students who are unable to attend school and access to textbooks was identified as one of the most pressing challenges while students are required to learn at home or another school nearby.
To address this challenge, Unicef, with funding support from Sweden, has procured new textbooks for 50 primary, lower secondary and upper secondary schools.
Education minister Hang Chuon Naron said Cambodia welcomes the additional support from Unicef and Sweden for these schools and students in the border provinces.
Swedish ambassador to Cambodia, Bjorn Haggmark, said education is a fundamental human right but Covid-19 continues to disrupt the schooling of thousands of children in Cambodia.
“Sweden is glad to assist Cambodia with this important emergency response – ensuring that students on the Covid-19 frontlines have adequate learning resources to continue their studies, ” he said.
Unicef Representative in Cambodia Foroogh Foyouzat said the urgency in responding to Covid-19 has often led to disruptions and that it was crucial to re-imagine education to fit these changing circumstances.
She said every child has the right to an education and concerted efforts are needed to see those rights fulfilled. — The Phnom Penh Post/ANN