THE Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and Unesco have announced the launch of another three internet-based learning centres for Cambodian youths who have dropped out of lower secondary school.
The new learning centres will be officially inaugurated on Thursday following the recent launch of four other learning centres in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.
The three centres are based at the National Institute of Entrepreneurship and Innovation (NIEI), the National Institute of Business (NIB) and the JVC Technical College in the capital.
Initiated by the two ministries with the support of Unesco, the Basic Education Equivalency Programme (Beep) aims to provide flexible alternative education to dropouts to complete lower secondary education, equivalent to grade nine, at their own pace.
“Beep enables Cambodian youths to pursue their educational interests while continuing their professional activities.
“Having a basic education qualification will enable them to build their knowledge and skills for further decent employment opportunities,” said a press release.
It said that within two months after February’s launch of the first centre in Phnom Penh 734 learners had registered online, 25 per cent of them female.
Currently, 60 learners are studying at four centres under the management of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.
The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training said five learning centres under its management have already been set up and were ready for new learners, while the ministry is working to publicise the programmes to target groups.
By Monday, 32 students, 10 of them female, had enrolled at the centres under the ministry’s management.
The Beep will be piloted at 10 centres – five in Phnom Penh and another five in Siem Reap province. Enrolled students would be given free internet access to the courses by telecommunications company Smart Axiata.
Learners who successfully complete all subjects and pass examinations and assessments will be awarded basic education certificates and have a chance to continue their education at either vocational high schools or Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) secondary schools under the Ministry of Labour, said the press release.
Of the five learning centres in Phnom Penh, two are managed by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, while the other three by the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training.
Three of the five centres in Siem Reap province will be run by the Ministry of Education and the other two by the Ministry of Labour.
During the inauguration of the first Beep centre in February, Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron said the programme provides an ideal opportunity for poor youths to complete their basic education.
“The objective of opening the centres is not only for [students] studying at schools but also for those who are unable to pursue their education.
“Beep will make it easy for those who are unable to study or [who are] working. It allows them to pursue their education online,” he said.
Tong Sopheap, the deputy director-general of the General Department of Technical Vocational Education and Training under the Ministry of Labour, said: “The [Beep] education programme enables students to learn online from anywhere, and teaches even soft skills.”