Minister of Education, Youth and Sport Hang Chuon Naron has introduced model primary school standards, unveiling a document on child development linked to primary education and an accelerated first-year Khmer language textbook. 

This initiative aims to enhance education quality, knowledge and skills, aligning with the government’s education reform strategy for 2024-28.

Speaking at the launch ceremony on January 12 at the National Institute of Education, Chuon Naron said that implementing these standards is a pivotal step in the educational reform strategy. 

Aligned with the national development and government’s strategic vision, education holds the utmost priority in fostering high-quality human resources. 

“Model primary schools must be accountable to the community and education authorities at all levels. Teachers need to uphold professional ethics at all hours, including teaching in line with the curriculum,” he said.

The primary school qualifications involve accountability to the community, meeting model school standards, autonomy in improvement plans and transparent testing for students. 

Teachers are to use test results to enhance teaching, while after-school activities focus on behavioural and moral development. 

School must also prioritise student well-being, with active involvement from parents, guardians and community members in supporting and fostering the educational environment.

Heng Vanda, head of the Cambodian Higher Education Association, opined that schools in the nation lack clear standards from primary to high school, relying solely on legal and regulatory processes similar to other countries.

He said that establishing a model primary school requires the collective participation of all stakeholders. 

“In setting education standards, we also need to focus on improving the management system. The ministry needs skilled individuals with expertise and experience to take charge. Simultaneously, recruiting those with expertise and experience in the provinces while reinforcing the education department is just as crucial,” he said.

Vanda added that for the successful implementation of model primary school standards, dedication from all stakeholders and maximum participation are vital. Simultaneously, the ministry needs to kick-start the project by enhancing classrooms and ensuring a clear, standardised curriculum. Additionally, teachers must align their teaching with the established curriculum and schedule.

In the inaugural meeting of the 7th legislature’s Cabinet on August 24, 2023, Prime Minister Hun Manet outlined four fundamental measures.

These include strengthening school governance, reviewing and coordinating the curriculum and extracurricular activities to enhance students’ knowledge, discipline, ethics and behaviour.

Ensuring student health through child nutrition programmes and food quality control and fostering parent, guardian and community involvement in education align with the slogan “State-Community Partnership for Education”.

The ministry also introduced four key rules integrated into the implementation of “Model School Standards” and “Model School Awards”.

These rules spotlight teaching and learning outcomes, community involvement, school operations and administration and institutional accountability.