As the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports began its annual general meeting this week, NGOs urged the government to prioritise teacher qualifications in a bid to improve the Kingdom’s ailing education system.
On the first day of the three-day meeting yesterday, the ministry laid out 15 areas – ranging from budget management to teacher training, early education and curriculum – that had been targeted for reform.
Chin Chanveasna, executive director of NGO Education Partnership, yesterday said that while all reforms were important, there was a need to prioritise specific reforms to be tackled first.
“I think the teachers’ qualifications – quality of teaching – needs to be prioritised,” he said. “In general, there’s low quality of teaching. We need to strengthen the quality.”
The ministry has flagged revamping teacher training and helping teachers with ongoing studies, with the goal of having all teachers possess bachelor’s degrees by 2020.
Improving teacher qualifications would be a good reform, said Erika Boak, chief of education for UNICEF Cambodia.
“It will take some time for all teachers to have that level of qualification, but it’s really needed,” she said.
However, teachers were not the only ones to blame when it came to the quality of education, Boak added.
Assessments were needed to find the root causes of what was working and what was not, and it could be anything from teacher training, to the way schools were managed or even parental engagement.
“Many different things affect the quality of education. Right now, we don’t have a clear picture – based on evidence – of what the real issues are.”
Data collection was not done regularly, especially on information regarding the quality of education, according to a report released yesterday by the ministry, highlighting what was accomplished in 2015 and what’s ahead for this year.
Ministry spokesman Ros Salin said the quality of education had improved in recent years, but acknowledged that more work remained.