A foreign language school run by veteran journalism lecturer Moeun Chhean Narith in Kampong Cham province’s Kang Meas district, which just opened, has revealed plans for rapid expansion in the coming months.
Chhean Narith, who has been a journalism educator since 1992, is now running the Borom Borann International Language School (BBILS), which he founded.
The school is allowing the children of Kang Meas district the opportunity to learn foreign languages at a low tuition cost.
Chhean Narith said that his small school was opened about one month ago on December 12, 2022. In a short period of time the school signed up 40 students and he expects that the number will increase to over 100 in the next three months.
“The school was established to help poor children learn English like wealthy children are able to. Every day, I observed that the poor children of the district looked on with envy at the wealthy kids who wore school uniforms and took a school bus to go to learn a language school in urban areas.
“I used to be a poor child living in an orphanage. I struggled to learn until I had a deep knowledge of language and, later on, journalism skills. So I don’t want to see poor children struggle to build a life like I did when I was a child,” he added.
Chhean Narith plans to teach students in three shifts: Morning, afternoon and night classes. For now he is teaching just one class in the afternoon, but he will divide it into three shifts when the students return to public school.
“After the children have learned more, I will train them to become language tutors so that they can earn a living and pass on what they have learned,” he said.
The lecturer says that some individuals have made donations to the school which has allowed him to buy all of the furnishings and supplies that he needs as well as hire some assistant teachers.
While other language schools in urban areas charge one student $10 to $15 a month, his school charges one student only $2.5 or 10,000 riel a month in order to make it accessible to all children.
“With more support, the school will build more classrooms as the number of students increases,” Chhean Narith said, adding that he would also like to get a school bus to transport the students eventually.
Chhean Narith, who teaches journalism at the University of Cambodia as well, was at one time a journalist working for The Phnom Penh Post for four years (1992-1995) before becoming an educator.
He has also taught college-level journalism courses at the Royal University of Phnom Penh and Pannasastra University in the past.
“In fact, helping people become resourceful is my great passion. We need to build human resources in Cambodia first in order to build anything else ourselves,” the 50-year-old lecturer said.