On the occasion of International Education Day, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports Hang Chuon Naron issued a message thanking teachers, guardians, students and all stakeholders for supporting the safe reopening of schools in the context of Covid-19.

In a four-minute video broadcast to celebrate the event on January 24, Chuon Naron said the government had given priority to vaccinating education staff and students, which played a large part in the reopening.

He thanked all of the teachers who had made great efforts and learning to embrace new educational technologies in order to continue providing quality education during the period where schools were suspended.

The minister added that teachers had impressed him with their creativity under what were difficult circumstances, with e-learning, group teaching and distance learning.

“Allow me to express my appreciation at this International Education Day for the efforts of development partners as well as parents and school communities for the support they provided to the ministry. The instructional and protective materials that they provided allowed a safe return to in class learning for the new school year, and we are grateful,” he said.

In order to operate safely, Chuon Naron has set out a number of measures which follow the recommendations of the ministry and the Ministry of Health.

All schools have been instructed to adhere to the three dos and don’ts guidelines, and must establish health and safety committees. Classes must be limited to no more than 25 students and social distancing must be practiced.

Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association (CITA) president Ouk Chayavy said the reopening of classrooms, particularly to young students, presented a serious set of challenges as many classrooms remain overcrowded and not capable of enforcing all of the government guidelines.

“In some classes, there are at least 40 students. So how can the three dos and three don’ts be applied? All of us, not just teachers and citizens, are concerned about this,” she said.

She acknowledged, however, that the reopening had been run smoothly by the education ministry for the most part despite some setbacks.