The Canada-franchised Learning Jungle International School has recently expanded into secondary education under the name Westview Cambodian International School.
The Phnom Penh Post’s May Kunmakara spoke with its founder, Ly Virak, to discuss his business as well as the development of the education sector in the Kingdom.
Virak founded Learning Jungle International School in 2014 after returning from his studies abroad. Learning Jungle International School covers kindergarten to grade 6, with the newly launched Westview offering education up to grade 12.
Q: What was the school’s business performance last year?
Last year was a remarkable one for Learning Jungle International School. We expanded into secondary education under the new name Westview Cambodian International School. This is an important contribution to the development of the education sector in Cambodia, providing more choices to parents.
Like Learning Jungle, Westview focuses on quality international education and the integration of Khmer language and culture into one unique curriculum.
The education sector will continue to enjoy tax cuts from the government until 2023. With this kind of support, coupled with the Kingdom’s fast growth, the sector will continue to prosper.
Better education, in the form of international schools, means the number of graduates here is rising. Meanwhile, regional and international integration is bringing more foreign professionals and experts to Cambodia.
Both of these trends will significantly improve the Kingdom’s human resources and create a more competitive marketplace. Those who want to stand out from the crowd need to be proficient in English and Khmer. They will need to be well-versed in Khmer culture to be able to work with the general public and in Cambodia’s unique context.
In English, there is a saying that goes like this: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, it goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, it goes to his heart”. Parents that want to maximise their children’s opportunities in life must think about this when it comes to choosing a school for them.
Q: Is your new school also franchised abroad?
Westview Cambodian International School is not a franchise, but that’s not a problem. My team and I have accumulated a wealth of experience building Learning Jungle International School from scratch for the past five years, and we bring all that experience into this new venture.
We are tapping on a strong network to recruit dedicated and certified international teachers from the US and Canada as well as passionate and experienced local staff.
Also, we are in the process of becoming an internationally accredited school with two organisations – Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACS WASC); and the Council of International Schools (CIS).
Both are globally renowned accrediting institutions. We believe that obtaining these accreditations will enhance students’ access to the world’s top universities.
Q: The use of modern technology in education seems to be a trend here, and one that is widely supported by the government. What does your school offer in this regard?
Our classrooms are equipped with more information technology tools that enable the teachers to engage with the students more dynamically and efficiently.
We have developed a robust Science, Technology, Education and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum. When it comes to mathematics, for example, we encourage an inquiry-based learning approach.
In addition to learning theories, our students are taught to solve real-world mathematical problems by asking critical questions and reflecting.
They experience first-hand the real-life applications of the mathematical theories they learn in class and become critical thinkers who are able to communicate mathematical ideas fluently.
The science and technology curriculum focuses on three critical aspects: basic concepts, investigation and sustainability. Students are introduced to basic scientific concepts.
Through research and experiment, they develop a deeper understanding of essential science topics.
Through group discussions and online research, students also learn about the impact, both positive and negative, of science and technology on our society and environment.