The Department of Primary Education of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, in collaboration with Plan International Cambodia (PIC), have worked together to launch a new range of accelerated grade one textbooks to provide opportunities for aging children who previously dropped out of school. It is hoped that they will encourage greater rates of reenrollment.

A four-day workshop to develop the improvements – in the four core curriculum subjects of Khmer Literature, mathematics, applied science and social studies – will run from January 10-13 at Kampong Cham’s education department.

Yi Kimthan, deputy country director for PIC, told The Post on January 11 that the updates were needed as the textbooks have remained unchanged for a decade.

He said the improvements will bring the materials in line with the general curriculum across the country.

“After the revisions are made to the textbooks of this accelerated grade 1 programme, they will be available nationwide, not just in PIC’s target areas, but also in areas where there are a large number of young people whose ages are beyond their level of education,” he added.

In 2011-2012, the primary department worked with Pour un Sourire d’Enfant to compile 12 accelerated textbooks for three grades.

The books integrated grades one and two into one year of study, and did the same for grades three and four, and five and six. This meant older students were able to catch up with their peers, academically.

Chan Sophea, department director, said some older children did not attend school in accordance with their grade level, which adversely affected the implementation of the education ministry’s policy of child-friendly school education.

The accelerated programme was implemented to solve this problem in May 2013.

“This programme will accelerate the learning of older children, thus reducing the failure and dropout rates and increasing enrollment. It will also facilitate students’ learning so they have the opportunity to learn alongside their peers and will progress through the grades naturally,” he said.

Sophea added that this is the first update that has been made in a decade, and will support the teaching and learning of students and their teachers.

“I hope that the attendees will use the workshop to share ideas and exchange experiences to ensure the implementation of the programme is a success,” he concluded.