In order to increase the scope of efforts to provide students with corrective lenses and improving the financing model for providing eyeglasses, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport held a two-day workshop to discuss progress thus far.

The June 21-22 workshop was held at Takeo Provincial Teacher Training School, and also served to mobilise the ministry’s partners to support eye care, said a June 23 ministry press release.

The workshop was attended by 68 participants, including representatives from the ministries of health and women's affairs, the Takeo Provincial Administration and the Committee on Persons with Disabilities, along with educational delegates from Phnom Penh and 15 provinces.

Department of School Health director Chhay Kim Sotheavy reported on some of the challenges involved in training health educators and instructors, saying that the training had not yet been carried out nationwide. There were not enough glasses available to meet demand, and six provinces are yet to appoint officials to manage the health offices of provincial education departments.

While presiding over the workshop, education ministry undersecretary of state Soeur Socheata thanked all stakeholders for their responsible participation in the National Education Policy Programme, especially regarding the promotion of corrective lenses.

She requested that educational officials in the six provinces who have not yet appointed managers remain patient and continue their efforts to ensure the wellbeing of students and educators throughout their provinces.

She suggested that provincial education departments work closely with their capital counterparts to exchange experiences and support one another. She noted that their action plans should be comprehensive, as from 2024 on, decentralisation management will be implemented throughout the country.

She also requested that the Fred Hollows organisation examine the possibility of assisting the education ministry with the design and publishing of textbooks – as well as introducing eye care and treatment measures – while continuing to provide glasses to educators and leaners.