The first of a planned 15 Khmer Rouge genocide education classroom forums organised by the Documentation Centre of Cambodia (DC-Cam) in collaboration with the Ministry of Education kicks off today at a Phnom Penh high school, while photo exhibits commemorating Victory over Genocide Day are launching in the capital and Siem Reap.
The classroom forums, supported by USAID, will consist of film screenings followed by open discussions and distribution of history textbooks. The forums with the first launch today and the last one slated for July 8 are estimated to reach up to 1,200 students.
DC-Cam director Youk Chhang, speaking yesterday, said he hoped that “students will begin to question the legacy of genocide and carry on the discussion as they grow older”.
The forums figure into what Chhang describes as a “bold strategy” by the Education Ministry for genocide education, which, starting this year, will begin in grade 7 as opposed to grade 9.
Chhang said that, beyond the textbooks – which have an updated section comparing the Cambodian genocide to others throughout history – the strategy seeks to improve teaching quality.
Meanwhile, an exhibition of rare photographs taken by the forces storming the capital in 1979 was launched yesterday in Phnom Penh and over the weekend in Siem Reap, according to Museum of Memory director Savina Sirik.
“It is to remind the younger generation what happened,” she said.