The South Korean International Development Agency (KOICA) has agreed to provide more than $1.4 million in assistance to ChildFund Cambodia over the next three years to strengthen the education system for 17 rural primary schools in Chhlong district of Kratie province.

The collaboration will continue the so-called “Easy to Learn” project, which has been in place since 2019, for an additional three years from 2023 to 2025.

ChildFund said in its press release on February 22 that they will partner with KAFDOC, a local NGO based in Kratie, to implement the project.

“KOICA has committed to provide another $1.4 million funding to ChildFund over the next three years, which will allow the organisation to continue its flagship ‘Easy to Learn’ project to support children in the remote communities of Kratie province,” it said.

According to the press release, it is estimated that more than 29,000 children, teachers and community members will have taken part in the project by 2025. The project will continue to invest in the construction of school buildings and modern facilities to create a modern and child-friendly learning environment and strengthen school management.

The project also aims to strengthen the quality of education and provide opportunities for all children to receive education using a variety of methods – including peer-to-peer learning, tablets for e-learning, computer study programmes and teacher capacity building in child-friendly methodologies and techniques.

“This project aims to strengthen the learning capacity of students in 17 primary schools in Chhlong district of Kratie province,” the press release added.

ChildFund said it will continue to work closely with the community to strengthen their participation, especially parents, guardians and community leaders, in continuing to develop and maintain school achievements for the benefit of the next generation and strengthening their ownership of this project.

ChildFund country director Prashant Verma cited the organisation 2017 survey as saying that primary school repetition rates in Kratie were 17.6 per cent, despite the government’s strong efforts to invest in primary education. That means that 1 in 5 children repeat each grade, which is too high of a rate, but the ChildFund project has contributed to lowering the rate.

“We are thankful for KOICA’s support, and will continue to work closely with the Cambodian government as it seeks to reform the education system across the country. Without the great support and trust of the Cambodian government in ChildFund, this project would not be possible,” he said.

“Human Resource Development is one of the key priorities for Korean development cooperation in Cambodia. KOICA has put education support as a top priority in our policy for inclusive development of Cambodia under the theme of ”leave no one behind”, said Rho Hyun-jun, country director for KOICA Cambodia.

“Of all of the kinds of support we give, we believe improving students’ literacy should be one of the top priorities for all nationalities as reading and literacy are the stepping stones for all kinds of education. I hope this school thrives as a children’s safe and friendly space to inspire their dreams to change the world,” he said.

Sora Baek, country manager for ChildFund Korea, hopes that the phase 2 project will ultimately continue to provide Chhlong district’s children with a sense of enjoyment in learning and continue to provide them with a safe and quality education.

“Although we all had a difficult time due to the pandemic that began in 2020, we were still able to contribute to the goal of reducing the dropout rate of elementary school students in Chhlong from 2019 to 2021,” he said.

Sok Prihanes, vice governor of Kratie province, further stated: “On behalf of the local government, I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation for KOICA, ChildFund and KAFDOC’s support in enhancing the educational opportunities for kids in our remote region. This programme has considerable support and is consistent with the government’s aims for nationwide educational reform.”