Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS) was joined by its Capacity Development Partnership Fund (CDPF III) partners to celebrate school reopening in Kampong Chhnang to witness the use of the new Home Learning Packages which are being distributed to all 760,180 Cambodian children in public schools Grade 1 and Grade 2.

Partners included the Ambassador of the European Union (EU), representatives from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Swedish Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), and the Representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The delegation visited a school in Kampong Chhnang, which has recently reopened. They met with the school director and teachers at Bun Rany Hun Sen Rormeas Primary School in Akphivath Commune, and were invited to observe young students learning with the help of the Learning Packages. Here they also spoke with teachers, students and families about progress with school reopenings and how the Home Learning Packages support children to catch up with their learning, both at school and at home.

The Home Learning Packages were created by MoEYS with funding from CDPF partners to support learning during school closures and as they begin to reopen. The packages include age-appropriate self-study materials to improve reading, writing, spelling and mathematics, all complementing the MoEYS Grade 1 and 2 curricula. Information on how parents can support their children’s education and protect them from COVID-19 is also included in an environmentally friendly, reusable bag along with a bar of soap.

While most schools in Cambodia re-opened on Nov. 1, many are using a blended approach which combines face-to-face and home learning. The Home Learning Packages can be used both in classroom and at home, with the help of either teachers or parents. The Home Learning Packages will help Grade 1 and 2 students catch-up on any education they have missed during the past months.

H.E. Hang Chuon Naron, Cambodia’s Minister of Education, Youth and Sports said as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and schools reopen, the education of our youngest children is a top priority. The Learning Packages will make sure that children can learn effectively. “We appreciate the support of valued partners such as the SIDA, USAID, UNICEF, the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and the EU in helping us support students through this difficult time. They are the latest evidence of the deep, long-term collaboration between MoEYS and partners,” he added.

“The human right to education is a key building block for Cambodia’s sustainable development. The learning materials concretely support the post-COVID recovery. They are further evidence of the commitment of Team Europe against the pandemic,” H.E. Ms. Carmen Moreno, the European Union Ambassador to Cambodia spoke on behalf of Team Europe, i.e. the EU and its Member States.

For her part, Ms. Foroogh Foyouzat, Representative for UNICEF in Cambodia, underlined that children’s education is the key which unlocks a nation’s continued development, so UNICEF is very happy to see schools reopen again. “We’ll continue to work with the Ministry of Education and all our CDPF partners to help children, especially the most vulnerable, recover the learning they have lost during the pandemic. This includes important initiatives such as these Home Learning Packages. We will also support MoYES in monitoring implementation of prevention measures, including through engagement of teachers, parents and communities so that schools continue to operate safely,” she said.

“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.”

Mr. Magnus Saemundsson, First Secretary of the Embassy of Sweden said, “We are very proud that we have been able, together with our partners in the CDPF, to support the MoEYS in mitigating the effects that the school closure has had on learning during the pandemic. The learning losses for students in Cambodia are huge although the innovative and immediate digital responses of the MoEYS have moderated these losses. The Home Learning Package is another important intervention that will have a long-term effect on reading and learning.”

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press

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