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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministry wants more kids in schools

Ministry wants more kids in schools

A POLICY designed to increase the number of children entering primary school is not working well enough and needs to be supplemented by more legislation and funding, officials say.

The policy, which was implemented in 2003, was intended to increase the school attendance of children aged three to six.

Nat Bunroeun, under secretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, said that in 2005 about 50 percent of children aged three to five were enrolled in primary schools. He said the ministry wanted to improve this figure and would seek more resources and support to do so.

He said that in order to build a stronger national policy that could help achieve the goal of education for all children, participation from local and international NGOs was needed.

Union unimpressed

According to Rong Chhun, head of Cambodia's Independent Teacher's Association, the policy has failed due to a weakness in  Ministry of Education leadership.

"We no longer hope there will be education for all children by 2015 and teachers no longer have faith in the Ministry," he said, adding that about 60 percent of children between the ages three and six are not attending school.

Figures provided by the ministry show the overall number of children entering primary school increased from 91.9 percent in 2004-2005 to 93.3 percent in 2007-2008 in Phnom Penh and from 71 percent in 2004-2005 to 76 percent in 2007-2008 in rural areas.

But Rong Chhun said the statistics were questionable. 

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