The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and UNESCO have provided new teaching materials for young mathematics students at the Teacher Training Centre in Kampong Cham province.

The provision of educational supplies, which was announced on November 28, includes exercise books, a student support book and video resources. The initiative is the latest outcome of the Strengthening Teacher Education Programmes in Cambodia (STEPCam), which was launched in 2018 between the Cambodian government and UNESCO.

The new supplies and material were based on consultative workshops organised by the education ministry’s Primary Education Department. According to UNESCO, Grade 1 and 2 teachers were active participants in the workshops and provided active feedback on how to make the materials more user-friendly and context-sensitive.

The announcement ceremony was presided over by education ministry secretary of state Nath Bunroeun and UNESCO Country Representative Sardar Umar Alam, according to a press release.

Bunroeun emphasised the importance of early grade reading and maths, as well as the need to provide mentoring and training to teachers.

Alam said a strong foundation in early mathematics was critical for young learners to succeed in later grades and that teachers were the catalysts for building this educational foundation.

The launching event also marked the first step of a pilot project for Grade 2 mathematics that will be introduced in Siem Reap province next year. In subsequent stages, additional teacher training will be provided on how to use new material in teaching and learning, according to UNESCO.

“Since its launch, STEPCam has equipped over 2,800 early grade teachers with new tools and resources to improve learning outcomes in reading and mathematics in Grades 1 and 2,” UNESCO said.

In today’s digital age, according to UNESCO, mathematics was the basis for innovation and sustainable development and Cambodia had made impressive gains in education.

Even so, many Cambodian students continued to struggle to achieve acceptable proficiency in early mathematics.

Education ministry spokesman Ros Soveachea referred reporters to the press release when reached for comment on November 29.