The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport in partnership with Kampuchea Action to Promote Education (KAPE) is setting up modern libraries equipped with internet connections at 16 schools in Ratanakkiri, Kratie and Tbong Khmum provinces to promote student literacy.
KAPE’s executive director Sao Vanna told The Post on March 23 that the construction of the libraries is part of the Happy Cambodian Children project that is being carried out with the support of the Kinchan Foundation.
“The libraries are being built using designs developed in KAPE’s New Generation School Programme that employ multi-functional furniture configurations and specialised layouts for specific activities such as story-telling.
“The libraries have very favourably impressed local communities and teachers and greatly increased the children’s motivation to attend school,” Vanna said.
He said training for school librarians was already underway to ensure that the libraries are heavily utilised and are well-maintained.
The libraries are constructed in Khmer architectural style with funding from a $1 million annual grant from the Kinchan Foundation. In total, KAPE has so far constructed 47 modern library facilities at schools in Phnom Penh and eight provinces.
Vanna added that KAPE has also played an important role in providing online distance-learning during the Covid-19 pandemic and that they currently have 20 projects in 13 provinces that are benefiting 120,000 students.
In addition to that, he said KAPE has published teaching-related books and documents which have provided innovative ideas and contributed to the development of the education system in the country.
Education ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said his ministry is proud of the work they have done with KAPE to improve the quality of libraries at Cambodian schools.
“The Modern Library initiative of the Happy Cambodian Children project has contributed a lot to promoting reading among children while also providing internet connections to schools,” he said, adding that improving the quality of libraries at schools remains one of the ministry’s priorities.
Soveacha said other ministry efforts in this area included organising National Reading Day, establishing digital libraries for higher education institutions and focusing on how to effectively promote literacy through programmes at teacher training centres.