The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and UNESCO launched new Basic Education Equivalency Programme (BEEP) learning centres in six provinces in Cambodia during the second phase of the government’s initiative (2020-2023) to support out-of-school youths in lower grades.
UNESCO education programme officer Kimlay Leav told The Post that UNESCO helped launch the centres to help youths obtain skills and seek employment opportunities.
Kimlay said the centres will be introduced in Koh Kong, Kampong Thom, Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Thbong Khmum, and Ratanakkiri provinces. The centres offer flexible alternative education for out-of-school youths in lower secondary schools or for those who completed Grade 9 but cannot study further.
“The youths can study with smartphones or travel to destination provinces with BEEP centres to pursue studies. In three to five months, they can receive a basic education equivalent to Grade 9 and can pursue studies at Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutes under the labour ministry and at the Technical of Secondary School under the education ministry,” he said.
Koh Kong provincial labour department director Yuk Songvath said: “Those who cannot complete Grade 9 can study online. So, after they complete the programme in three to six months, they can receive certificates equivalent to Grade 9 and can pursue skills training.”
According to a UNESCO press release, 35 BEEP centres will be established in 15 provinces under the programme of Decent Employment for Youth, supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation phase two (2020-2023).
Phase two aims to support young people in Cambodia to obtain decent and productive employment opportunities by ensuring they are better able to meet labour market demands and prepare for quality employment, it said.
BEEP was launched by UNESCO in 2016 in partnership with the education and labour ministries to provide flexible alternative education to out-of-school youths to complete lower secondary/basic education equivalent to Grade 9.
BEEP enables Cambodian youths to complete their education while continuing professional activities. The basic education qualification provided by BEEP upon completion of the programme allows learners to build upon their knowledge and skills and pursue decent employment opportunities.
In phase one of the Decent Employment for Youth Project between 2017 and 2019, 13 BEEP learning centres were established in Siem Reap, Battambang and Kandal provinces as well as Phnom Penh.
Since then, BEEP has generated a dynamic dialogue about the importance of continuing education, Information Communication and Technology and lifelong learning in Cambodia among policymakers, employers, development partners, TVET institutes, NGOs and youths. A total of 535 learners have enrolled, 38 per cent of them were women.
By 2023, at least 1,000 learners are expected to enrol and graduate.