The attendance rate at public and private primary schools stands at 98 per cent, a similar level to other countries in the region, Minister for Education, Youth and Sport Hang Chuon Naron told a meeting to outline the achievements of the 2017-18 period on Monday.
He said a campaign to boost enrolment of school-age children, the construction of academic buildings, the hiring of more teachers, an increased budget to run schools and the provision of scholarships for poor students, especially girls, had made it possible for more of them to receive an education.
“At present, 63.1 per cent of five-year-olds have entered kindergartens at all levels, and of them, 68.5 per cent is female,” Chuon Naron said.
He said 3,567,105 students were in public and private study, ranging from kindergarten to secondary education, of whom some 1,766,000 (49.5 per cent) were females.
The minister said there were 125 higher education establishments nationwide, of which 48 were state-run and 77 privately owned.
Students in higher education numbered 211,484, of whom 89,630 (46.63 per cent) were females. There were 158 students on scholarships, of whom 60 (37.97 per cent) were females.
Chuon Naron said in a bid to improve the quality of education, the ministry had approved a detailed curriculum across all subjects, improved teacher qualifications at primary level up to university, and sent experienced teachers to participate in a professional development programme.
It had also encouraged the teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem), improved the management of schools, developed study programmes and teaching methodologies and supplied more textbooks.
In particular, for youth development, the minister said the ministry had updated the Youth Council of Cambodia – to reward students who had made a positive impact on their peers – the School Board of Management and the School Support Committee.
“The Youth Council has helped school management work, supported youth clubs and study clubs, and helped students sitting the Grade 12 examinations,” he said.
He highlighted the ministry organising youth skills training programmes connecting with society to strengthen the activities of student associations.
With these, students were encouraged to volunteer in their spare time to assist with traffic order, take care of the environment in schools and public areas, and take part in charity programmes to help those affected by natural disasters.
The permanent Deputy Prime Minister in charge of the Council of Ministers, Bin Chhin, expressed his admiration for the five-year achievements of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.
“I support school reforms and the better management of schools but we have to prepare a legal framework, standard letters, policies, a standard curriculum and a complete means of accountability and put them into practice at schools.
“Educational quality is born out of the capacity and efforts of students and teachers. So we should continue to pay attention to the promotion and development of the capacity of teachers through training, and deploy teachers accordingly at the grassroots level, especially seeking a means to encourage teachers in remote areas,” Chhin said.
The annual review and goal-setting meeting of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS) is running for three days from Monday to Wednesday at the Institute of Technology of Cambodia in Phnom Penh.