Minister of Education, Youth and Sport Hang Chuon Naron has given the green light for early childhood education service providers to resume operations nationwide from January 10 through at least October 31, 2022.

In an announcement dated December 20, Chuon Naron said that for the school year 2021-2022, early childhood education should continue to focus on five areas of development: Physical health, language learning, social skills, intellectual growth, and emotional, moral and cultural awareness.

The opening date of the school year for all levels across the country is set for January 10 with days off for Khmer New Year scheduled for April 6-19 and then a longer break for the entire month of November.

As the pandemic is not over, the opening ceremonies for the school year will be conducted on a limited basis in select locations with a smaller number of attendees who must all adhere to the recommended health preventive measures.

The ministry said that in the event of a force majeure occurring such as an outbreak of Covid-19, floods, storms and other disasters, the school principal must make an urgent report to the ministry with the approval of the education office in their district and the provincial education department in order to receive permission to suspend in-person classes.

Municipal education department director Hem Sinareth said his officials were ready for the opening of the new school year.

“We are prepared to follow the guidelines of the education and health ministries,” he said.

Kong Samneang, deputy director-general of the Westline Education Group – which operates schools with students from kindergarten through Grade 12 in Phnom Penh and Battambang province – said he strongly supports the reopening of kindergarten and early childhood education services as it is crucial for the healthy development of young children.

“In our schools, we continue to implement the ministries’ procedures and monitor our students’ temperatures. Of course we’ve had some challenges related to Covid-19 the same as all schools, but we’ve been able to keep things under control,” he said.