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‘Decline in dropouts’ bodes well for project

Students leave a high school in Phnom Penh
Students leave a high school in Phnom Penh last year. Hong Menea

‘Decline in dropouts’ bodes well for project

Figures showing a promising decline in the number of school dropouts discussed at a meeting yesterday may augur the possible expansion of a pilot project aimed at keeping kids in school, a program officer said.

The Kampuchean Action for Primary Education’s (Kape) school dropout pilot program currently operates in six provinces – Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Pursat, Kampong Speu, Prey Veng and Svay Rieng, Kape education specialist Ouk Sothira said yesterday.

In their effort to keep students in school until at least grade 9, Sothira said, the 215 participating schools train teachers to spot early dropout warning signs, inform parents and students about the long-term benefits of remaining in school and equip schools with computer labs, where students can learn skills needed at higher-paying jobs.

“[Schools] make parents know about the ability of children, and make parents realise that if they keep their children in school, [children] will have better opportunities for work,” Sothira said. While exact figures were still unavailable, she added, “we’ve learned that the number of dropouts has decreased”.

The program is sponsored by USAID and also funded by Washington DC-based Creative Associates International.

Other efforts to keep students from dropping out include a deal between one high school and a local company, which allows students to work part-time, enabling them to earn money for their families and remain in school, Sothira said.

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