A new three-year joint initiative between the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) and Unesco will provide Grade 1 and 2 teachers in five provinces with mentorship in a bid to improve the quality of primary school education, a joint press release said.
“The introduction of the [Senior Mentoring System] allows teachers to get regular support from their peers. In this way, teachers’ capacity development doesn’t end with training, but will continue at school,” the press release said.
The programme will be provided through the MoEYS and Unesco’s joint Strengthening Teacher Education Programmes in Cambodia (STEPCam).
Funding will come from the Capacity Development for Education (CapED) and the Global Partnership for Education Phase III (GPE3), said the press release.
“By focusing on the professional development of Grade 1 and Grade 2 teachers of Khmer and Mathematics [subjects], this component of STEPCam engages not just mentors, but also teachers, teacher trainers, school directors, and MoEYS officials and staff in a comprehensive suite of activities,” it said.
By the end of last year, there were a total of 3,400 mentors, teachers, and trainers – 62 per cent of whom were women – mentoring Grade 1 and 2 teachers in five provinces including – Kratie, Preah Vihear, Siem Reap, Stung Treng and Oddar Meanchey.
The MoEYS said it considered the mentors – composed of a qualified group of education professionals – to be “an innovative concept introduced into the Cambodian school system”.
“The new student-centred approach in early-grade-learning – which fosters positive inquiry and active participation – is at the core of STEPCam, together with child-friendly and engaging new teaching materials,” said the press release.
MoEYS spokesman Ros Soveacha told The Post on Sunday that the mentoring programme would focus on integrating more modern methods and technology to benefit teachers and students.
“The objective is to promote learning and teaching, with particular attention to teaching with support from mentors. We hope teachers will incorporate the theories into practice to improve the quality of education,” Soveacha said.
Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association president Ouk Chhayavy said Cambodia’s early education had yet to improve due to favouritism towards donors.
“We must have our own key principles applied to the education system. How will Cambodian students learn from teachers if the MoEYS rapidly adapts the sector to meet the concepts proposed by donors?” she asked.
“I don’t think anything has improved,” she told The Post on Sunday.