China and UNICEF have announced that they will donate educational and sanitation materials to education offices in nearly 200 districts throughout Cambodia to support the return of 70,000 children to their pre-schools.
After a handover ceremony on Wednesday, delegates from the ministry, the Chinese embassy and UNICEF visited a community pre-school in the capital’s northern Prek Pnov district to observe how such supplies are being used by school personnel and pupils.
Wu Guoquan, the embassy’s commercial counsellor, said the Chinese Ministry of Commerce has donated the supplies to 3,064 pre-schools across the Kingdom.
“These supplies represent cooperation between the Chinese government, UNICEF and the Cambodian government. Donations from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce . . . to UNICEF shows support and care for the healthy development of Cambodian children.
“[The supplies] improve the ability of Cambodian communities and schools to respond to the pandemic and facilitate the return of children to pre-schools,” Wu said.
He added China actively participated in international anti-pandemic cooperation and firmly supported multilateralism and the UN in the fight against Covid-19.
UNICEF Representative in Cambodia Foroogh Foyozat said China was an important development partner in supporting the joint efforts of the Cambodian government and UNICEF in responding to the pandemic.
She said the provision of educational materials and WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) supplies such as portable handwashing facilities, water filters and cleaning products was essential for the safety and health of young learners. All supplies and materials were currently being distributed to education offices in 187 districts throughout the country.
Foyozat said: “There is extensive evidence that early childhood education plays a foundational role in a child’s development, improves their educational results in their later school years and leads to better outcomes in their adult lives.
“As the Cambodian education system recovers from and increases its resilience to the Covid-19 crisis, we will continue to work together to reimagine the provision of early education for every Cambodian child, especially the most vulnerable ones.”
Education ministry secretary of state Kim Sethany said the ministry welcomes the support from China’s Ministry of Commerce through the Chinese Embassy, and thanks them for working with UNICEF to support Cambodia’s pre-school students.
She added that the ministry wanted as many young children as possible to benefit from attending pre-school.
“This target is only possible when learning environments are safe. We hope families will feel reassured in sending their children to pre-school as a result of this critical support,” Sethany said.