Hang Chuon Naron, the Minister of Education, Youth and Sport, on Sunday hailed the National Association of Cambodian Scouts (NACS) as an active non-profit movement that supports the Kingdom’s education system and successfully participates in voluntary activities, as well as implementing various projects aimed at connecting children and young people with local communities.
Chuon Naron was speaking in Siem Reap as Cambodia hosted the 11th Asean Region Scout Leadership Training Session.
The programme aims to improve the NACS’ capability to organise training courses for its leaders, develop human resources and keep in line with the standards of the World Organsation of the Scout Movement (WOSM), the largest international scouting organisation with 170 members.
Cambodia formed its first Scouting organisation, the Khmer Scout Association, in 1934, Chuon Naron said, but with the political climate changing during World War II, the association was dissolved.
Various incarnations were established in the ensuing decades until 2000 saw the registration of the two organisations that later merged to form the NACS – the Scout Organisation of Cambodia and the Cambodian Scouts.
The two groups were run by rival political parties, and for this reason the WOSM could not admit either of them as a member. In 2006, the first annual general meeting of the NACS was held, and in July 2008 it was granted full WOSM membership, the minister said.
He said Cambodian Scouting is an essential resource that helps create responsible citizens who are active members of the local community as a result of their practical learning and Scouting experience.
“There is a need to expand the number of scouts in schools. Each target school will have to set up training courses for Scout teams so they have the ability to operate independently and introduce friends into the programmes – both inside and outside the school system,” Chuon Naron said.
Em Piseth, NACS deputy chief commissioner and director of Scouting at the Ministry of Education, told The Post on Sunday that NACS has more than 150,000 young people across the country divided into three groups.
Cub Scouts are aged between 9 and 11 years old, Scouts range from ages 12 to 17 and Rovers are between 18 and 25 years old, he said.
“We have a youth policy programme providing services to all members in all three age groups. We train them constantly. They follow the programme at their schools,” Piseth said.
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport said last year that there were some 51 million scouts worldwide in 169 countries.
The WOSM mission is “to contribute to the education of young people, through a value system based on the Scout Promise and Law, to help build a better world where people are self-fulfilled as individuals and play a constructive role in society.”