Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Samheng is establishing a working group to study the feasibility of arranging school facilities for the children of migrant workers both in the country and abroad.

The orders to establish the working group came after Prime Minister Hun Sen asked the Samheng and the Minister of Education, Youth and Sport Hang Chuon Naron to find a way to provide education to the children of migrant workers both within Cambodia and abroad.

Prime Minister Hun Sen addressed a graduation ceremony for more than 2,000 PPIU students on October 11, recommending schools be built near the construction sites and workplaces where the parents of Cambodian migrant children work to encourage children to attend school and ensure they don’t forget their native language.

Labour ministry spokesperson Heng Sour talked about the establishment of a new working group to facilitate the education of the children of migrant workers at a press conference on October 12.

“After the recommendations and guidance from Samdech Techo Hun Sen, the minister immediately instructed the working group to establish a new working group to study the possibility of arranging to provide easier access for the children of the migrants in our country,” he said. “Another group must be set up to discuss with the host countries that accept workers so that the children of the workers who go abroad with their parents can go to school in their own language.”

The labour ministry is also considering the possibility of establishing part-time community-based Khmer language schools attended on a voluntary basis, in addition to enrolling in general education schools in those countries, according to Heng Sour.

“We think that all of the countries in question may allow our workers’ children to enrol in school, but also learn in another language. Therefore, maybe we will create a Khmer language teaching programme as well to make sure they have general knowledge and also do not forget their native language,” he said.

Heng Sour said that as of August, 2022 about 1.3 million Cambodians are working abroad, which has contributed to improving their lives as well as the lives of their families.

He said that according to the labour ministry for 2022 Cambodian workers abroad have transferred $2.7 billion home.

“This is a high figure, which is why in the past, Ith Samheng has always appreciated those who are working abroad and always takes the time to visit our Cambodian workers in other countries as well, especially in Thailand and Korea,” he added.

According to the education ministry the dropout rates for primary schools have declined and there has been a steady increase in enrolment after the school catering programme which has now reached more than 1,000 schools in 10 provinces and provides free meals to the students.