IMPROVING OPPORTUNITIES FOR CHILDREN THROUGH ACCESS TO EDUCATION
Over 91% of students completing Kindergarten enroll in Primary School
50% improvement in results following Summer School project
6 kindergarten classes handed over to local authorities
10,000+ children have benefited from TGF’s education programme
TGF works with local communities, students, teachers, and government education officers to improve the reach and quality of primary school education. Our goals are to improve access to quality Early childhood Education (ECE), reduce dropout rates of primary schools students while increasing graduation rates, improve basic English skills and improve overall hygiene and sanitation. We focus our education initiatives on pre and primary school children and their parents, as these groups present the greatest opportunity to create lasting positive behaviours, which will be sustained throughout a child’s education.
- School Support Committee
- Community Kindergarten
- Key Skills
- Life Skills
- Summer School
- English Language
- Dental Hygiene & Sanitation
SCHOOL SUPPORT COMMITTEE
In 2013, the Ministry of Education Youth & Sports developed guidelines on the establishment of School Support Committees (SSCs), mandated for every public school in Cambodia. These committees comprise of students, parents, teachers, school principle and local officials and are tasked with improving community engagement and provide important stakeholder oversight to the management of each school. In collaboration with the local department for education, TGF provides training and resources to the SSCs of 8 primary schools, in 2 communes of Chi Kraeng district, to increase the ability of schools to deliver quality learning in child friendly environments. Each SSC develops a village map, identifying households with children of school age, monitoring their enrollment and progression through school and conducting biannual home visits to households of children with low attendance. They also meet at least 6 times per year to discuss school development and administrative issues.
Since 2010 TGF has worked with the Ministry of Education Youth & Sports (MoEYS) and a number of villages to facilitate the establishment of community-based Early Childhood Education programmes in their communities. These classes are an important element of the Ministry of Education, Youth & Sports’ Education Strategic Plan to increase primary enrolment. Community Kindergartens (CKs) ensure that children living in remote, rural villages have the opportunity to attend pre-school classes between the ages of 3 and 6, a vital step in preparing young children and their families for enrolment in primary school and a key indicator in predicting the likelihood of children progressing in school. Villages with no primary school are encouraged to establish a CK which is monitored by the Commune Council and supported by the local community. TGF currently works with 5 villages providing, training, resources, capacity building for local authorities and monitoring of their Kindergarten classes.
One of TGF’s primary goals in the education sector is to improve rates of student matriculation and reduce drop-out & repetition rate of primary students. In 2016, UNESCO reported an estimated $68 million in potential income is lost to the national economy annually due to primary and secondary students not completing their education; more than 7 percent of the national education budget for 2016. In Cambodia, for every 2 children that enroll in primary, 1 will drop out before they reach secondary school (UNESCO 2013), this is exacerbated in rural villages where families are poorer and distances to school are further. This is why in 2017, TGF implemented a Key Skills class for grade 6 students in 8 primary schools in Chi Kraeng district. In these classes students, who stuggle with core subjects; Maths and Khmer language and literacy are provided with extra tuition to ensure they have the fundemental skills they need to pass their grade 6 exams and progress to secondary education.
In 2011, the Ministry of Education Youth & Sports (MoYES) implemented a detailed local life skills curriculum for primary schools, to ensure students are equipped with knowledge and self-development skills to become good citizens and skilled workers. The curriculum for primary students is focused around 3 areas; agriculture, service and handicrafts. Basic career skills are taught to all learners by mainstreaming them into the four key subject areas (Khmer, Mathematics, Sciences, and Social Studies) of the National Curriculum. TGF in partnership with MoYES has implemented elements of the local life skils curriculum in 8 primary schools in Chi Kraeng. Focused on the agriculture modules, students learn about the importance of nutrition and grow various crops in a dedicated school garden throughout the year. All produce from the gardens supplement the World Food Program (WFP) “Free School Breakfast” programme, providing fresh vegetables for a nutritious breakfast for every student.
In addition to working with school management, local authorities and the community to improve the quality of education and its delivery within local primary schools, TGF also provides supplementary programmes such as the annual summer school. For two months during the summer holiday TGF funds classes for over 1000 children in grades 6 and 7. Classes are focused on core subjects; Maths, Khmer literacy and the sciences, to assist students who are about to transition to secondary school as well as those who have completed their first year. A range of English classes are also provided to assist students move from primary school, where little to no English has been taught (due to lack of skilled local teachers), to secondary school where a strong emphasis has been placed on foreign language skills. These are the only free revision classes available to students in Chi Kraeng district.
In 2013, the Ministry of Education, Youth & Sports (MoEYS) in it’s Education Strategic Plan set out it’s target for all students grades 4-6 to have access to 4 hours English language instruction per week. Since 2010, TGF has been subsidising English language classes in 4 primary schools, these classes were only available for grade 6 students and introduced basic English skills before beginning formal classes in secondary school. In 2016, thanks to a new curriculum developed by MoEYS in partnership with VSO, we expanded these classes to include all students grade 4-6. In addition to teacher stipends, TGF provides teacher training and resources for all 4 schools and TGF staff facilitate regular meetings and mentor teachers in class. We would like to expand the current programme to offer classes to students in all 8 schools we support in Chi Kraeng, however, this is not possible at this time due to a lack of local teachers with sufficient English langauge skills.
DENTAL HYGIENE & SANITATION
Linking with both our Health and Water & Sanitation Programmes, TGF’s Children’s Education Programme promotes good dental hygiene and sanitation practices in 8 primary schools in Chi Kraeng district. Through this project we hope to improve understanding of the importance of good dental care and handwashing by creating positive behaviours in primary children which will stay with them for a lifetime. Each year TGF provides toothbrushes and toothpaste for more than 300 grade 1 students and enough soap and towels for every school. We also provide teacher training for all teachers on how to deliver dental hygiene and handwashing education to students. Teachers then provide instruction to all students grade 1-6. As well as providing education and consumables, TGF is currently reviewing water and sanitation infrastructure at the schools we support. We aim to ensure all schools have the necessary facilities for both boys and girls to ensure that all students have access to clean water, toilets and wash basins, reducing water borne disease and promoting healthy behaviours in school.