Minister of Education, Youth and Sport Hang Chuon Naron said reforms to the education curriculum is aimed at raising its standards and quality to compete with countries in the region that exhibited better academic performance.
In a lecture to trainee teachers at the National Institute of Education on Monday, Chuon Naron said: “Improving the curriculum will boost the academic performance of our students.
“Cambodia has to compete against other countries in the region which have academically outperformed us as we were besieged by war for more than three decades and had to rebuild the education system from the ground up.”
He said as part of the reforms, the ministry has to improve the quality of teaching to meet the demands of the digital age.
By year’s end, the ministry will organise trainee teacher examinations which will allow them to be acquainted with new teaching methods and expand their knowledge about different teaching methods and strategies.
“Trainee teachers have to be kept up to date with teacher-centred methods of instruction – the old and the new. Teaching is an art. Trainee teachers should apply these methods to facilitate learning.
“Students primed to enter universities have to be taught using these modern methods. Otherwise, they will not be able to catch up with their peers and coursework in the university,” said Chuon Naron.
A video released by the ministry last year revealed that the present teaching methodology, which requires students to listen and memorise concepts through rote learning, can no longer meet the demands of the modern age as information could now be shared freely and quickly.
With rapid digitalisation, the job market has also become more competitive, requiring a high level of skills and competencies.
Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said on Monday that teachers should change their methods of instruction and instead focus on reading, writing, numeracy, foreign languages, critical thinking, communication and etiquette.
The new initiative will prioritise teacher training by setting plans for last year to 2023.
In November last year, the ministry inaugurated a New Generation Pedagogical Research Centre located at the National Institute of Education.
The centre offers a Master’s degree in Education in Professional Ethics, Teaching and Mentoring, which shall be conferred upon graduates who have completed a one-year course of study.
Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association president Ouk Chhayavy commended the educational reforms but asked the ministry to guarantee the availability of the technological learning materials so students would not be required to shell out money.