The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) on Tuesday issued a letter clarifying statistics issued by Save the Children on early childhood education. It said the report had led to public misunderstanding of the percentage of young children receiving a formal education.
“An NGO [Save the Children, a global network of nonprofit organisations headquartered in London, UK] recently published an analytic article on early childhood education in Cambodia."
“The report says that 39.9 per cent of children aged between three and five and 18.5 per cent of three-year-olds received education during the 2018-2019 academic year,” the ministry’s letter said.
Senior Save the Children in Cambodia policy adviser and spokesperson Huy Khy provided The Post with the figures on May 21.
The ministry’s letter said the Save the Children statistics had led to misunderstandings, because the organisation had added enrolment statistics of three-year-olds, four-year-olds and five-year-olds together, and then compared the figures with the population that was three to five years old.
According to the Unesco Institute of Statistics, the ministry said, enrolment rates at specific ages of early childhood are calculated separately.
In its letter, the ministry said in the 2018-2019 academic year, 59,363 three-year-old children were registered for education – equal to 18.5 per cent of the three-year-old population.
Four-year-olds who were enrolled totalled 121,958 – or 39.4 per cent of the four-year-old population – while 191,832 five-year-old children had access to education – equal to 63.1 per cent of the five-year-old population.
Ministry of Education spokesperson Ros Soveacha told The Post on Monday that the ministry had followed technical calculations by the Unesco Institute of Statistics and that Save The Children had not divided the numbers according to the Unesco’s technical formula, and their figures were therefore different from the ministry’s.
“It is not known whether the NGO was aware of Unesco’s statistical techniques or not,” Soveacha said.
Huy Khy told The Post on Monday that his organisation had used the ministry’s statistics in the Save the Children report, and he was grateful to the ministry for clarifying the issue.
“We appreciate that data collection and the definition of indicators is a complex matter, and we reaffirm our support for the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport in working together on this matter,” he said.