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Donors will pledge big for education

Donors will pledge big for education

T HE government's appeal for overseas aid to fund a $200 million education reform plan has been greeted positively by the international community, according to the Minister of Education, Youth and Sport, Tol Lah.

The government hosted an Education Donor Round Table conference on December 7 to unveil its education proposals and appeal for funding.

Tol Lah told the Post that, while it was too early for firm pledges of money, many donors had expressed support for the plan.

Donors such as Australia, Britain, France, Japan, Sweden, the United States, UNDP, UNESCO and the World Bank were committed to improving Cambodia's education services, he said.

Their representatives would consult their governments or head offices and work with him individually on the proposals in the coming weeks.

"Some donors have to discuss with us in detail...they want to consider what they want us to do and what we want them to do."

Shigeko Asher, of the Asian Development Bank, said the ADB planned to lend Cambodia $15 million for education projects.

The bank would discuss giving more, because education was a very important factor in increasing economic growth, he said.

Tol Lah said the government's five-year plan to the year 2000 had three priorities.

The first was to improve the quality of education; the second to increase access to education; and the third was to strengthen educational planning and management.

"We want to have every young girl and boy...complete nine years of quality basic education," he said.

"We want quality textbooks for every subject and grade and teacher manuals for every teacher."

The minister added: "If assistance meets our plan, our educational system will have a new face. It will be a modern system from 1995 onward."

Second Prime Minister Hun Sen told the conference that other plans included a sound examination system to monitor the progress of students and identify those who needed remedial teaching.

The government aimed to create a "pool of excellency" in the education system.

There must be excellent teachers, school directors and managers, he said.

The government would reward high performers, and also those teachers who were willing to serve in remote areas of the country.

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