Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Temporary school’s in session

Temporary school’s in session

Temporary school’s in session

A girl studies last week at a temporary learning space that was set up under a villager’s house in Kampong Cham province.

Save the Children International is swiftly expanding its temporary learning centres for students whose primary schools remained submerged to prevent them from permanently dropping out of school, its CEO said yesterday.

“In a flooding disaster of this magnitude” it is critical to get children “back in school as soon as possible”, Jasmine Whitbread, CEO of Save the Children International, said during her visit to flood-stricken villages in Kampong Cham province. “From our experience around the world, every day a child is not in school increases the risk they drop out permanently in a disaster like this. If we can quickly get them back in school-like settings, the chances of this happening are reduced,” she added.

The NGO has already opened 100 temporary learning centres in Kampong Cham and Prey Vang and plans to open more in Kampong Chhnang, she said. The centres are run in tandem with officials from provincial departments of education and employ teachers from schools still submerged or too damaged to reopen, she said, adding that her staff were working with government officials to help them duplicate the model in other flood-hit provinces.

Because families have had their livelihoods destroyed by the flooding, children are more likely to enter the workforce to help their families recover, Whitman explained. Temporary learning centres also provide protection for vulnerable children. “Because parents are scrambling to survive, they sometimes have to leave their children alone, which heightens their vulnerability to risk,” she said.

Haung Kimchean, deputy director of Kampong Cham’s education department, said 270 schools were affected by flooding and 101 had yet to reopen.

Srey Mara, administrative director of Prey Veng provincial education department, said 772 schools in the province had been affected by the floods, but most had already reopened.

Whitbread also said that although the global media was focused on the flooding in Thailand, her NGO was mounting its largest response in Cambodia because the need was greater  here. It has identified Laos as its second priority country and Thailand as the third, she said. Its target for emergency relief in Kampong Cham and Prey Vang provinces was 20 percent of those affected by the flooding, or 90,000 people in total.

Her visit coincided with the release of new data from the National Committee for Disaster Management raising the estimate of the number of people directly affected by the flooding from 1.2 million to 1.5 million.  The United Nations also announced yesterday that it would provide Cambodia with US$4 million for flood relief and rehabilitation. This was the first time Cambodia had been allotted funds from the UN’s central emergency response fund, it said. The funds are allocated “as part of a rapid response window for lifesaving humanitarian activities”, it said.


  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all