The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport has announced the implementation of the “Reading and Mathematics Kit for Grade 1” as well as the inclusion of 12 + 2 and 12 + 4 teacher training programmes in pedagogical schools to improve the Kingdom’s quality of education.

Speaking at a workshop on sharing best practices when using the reading and mathematics kits on August 16, education minister Hang Chuon Naron said the kits are designed for easy use by all stakeholders, especially first and second grade teachers who will now have a minimum package of materials that can be used to expand the practice across the country.

He added that the implementation of this practice is meant to improve the quality of education by improving the learning outcomes of primary school students. The goal is for Cambodian children to read, write and count together, and this establishes the necessary foundation for high quality of education in secondary and higher education schools.

The Grade 1 reading materials were distributed to all primary schools in eight provinces: Kampong Thom, Kampot, Kep – funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) – and Siem Reap, Kratie, Stung Treng, Preah Vihear and Oddar Meanchey, funded by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and UNESCO.

The Grade 1 math materials were distributed in Siem Reap, Kratie, Stung Treng, Preah Vihear and Oddar Meanchey provinces, also funded by GPE and UNESCO.

“So far, the working group has produced a package of materials including Grade 1 and 2 Khmer language arts textbooks; reading and writing books for students in the first and second semester; an exercise book for Grade 1 students in the first semester; six ‘smart monkey’ story books; a book of 30 short stories; teacher books part I and II; and alphabet flash cards,” he said.

According to Chuon Naron, the math kits include instruction books for teachers of first and second grades; students books for grades 1 and 2; exercise books for grade 1 and 2 which each have four parts; and teaching materials related to all of the student materials as well.

In addition to these kits, the working group has developed an operations manual on pedagogical counselling at the primary level, developed a standardised test for teachers for testing students, and is providing teacher support through a pedagogical counselling programme.

He said the ministry hopes that use of the kits would be expanded across the country through the use of government funds and via fundraising from partner organisations to support the implementation.

He added that the leadership and education staff, training institutions, teachers and all other stakeholders would work hard to support and expand the implementation of these kits to make the programme successful and sustainable.

Kann Puthy, deputy director of the Primary Education Department, said the kits were an additional aid for the implementation of the core textbook and that the materials were in line with the core textbook curriculum, but they were especially intended to push students to think more and use the skills they are learning in the classroom, like reading.

“The core textbooks remain, but these will be a supplement for the students that will be easy for them to learn through and something they can quickly grasp,” he said.

According to Puthy, teachers of grades one and two in all of the target provinces at more than 7,000 primary schools had received training for use of the kits, accounting for about 37 per cent of all students. The kits would reach 750,000 students nationwide, or about 33 per cent of the Kingdom’s total students.

The remaining 67 per cent will also gradually be provided access to the kits through the ministry and relevant partner organisations as implemented via the 2022-2025 strategy.