Prime Minister Hun Sen said the government’s policy of “one commune, one secondary school”, first introduced in 2002 to support development of human resources in Cambodia, has now been achieved. The status is now upgraded to “at least one secondary school in every commune”.

Speaking at a graduation ceremony for nearly 4,000 Vanda Institute students in Phnom Penh on October 3, he said comprehensive peace has provided opportunities for Cambodians to develop all sectors, including connecting transportation to build more schools in rural areas.

Peace has created opportunities for children in those remote areas, especially for girls who may not be allowed by their parents to go to school further from home out of concern for their safety, he said.

“Twenty years ago, we announced that for every one commune, we would strive to have one secondary school, but now we have reached that goal and continue to ‘at least one secondary school in every commune’. It means having two secondary schools in the larger communes now to reduce travel time for students,” he said.

The premier said the government has invested a lot in education, stressing that without human resources, the country would not develop. This is why the government has allowed only two ministries to recruit the most civil servants: Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and the Ministry of Health, which are both personnel-oriented.

He added that initially, the government started implementing policies on human health starting from pregnancy.

“Poor people who are struggling, they need this support. They were born near their house, in their hometown, and then there is a primary school, there is a secondary school, and in some places even high schools now,” he said.

He said that the education ministry had established methods for studying remotely during the outbreak of Covid-19, leading to advancement of the information technology or digital sectors.

He said that during the Covid-19 pandemic about four million students received online lessons, and through the 2021 high school exams the number of Grade A students was actually more than three times what it used to be compared to the previous period.

“So online training is not one of our weaknesses. If there is a need for education, pay attention to education through this system because it will work,” he said.

Education minister Hang Chuon Naron said that as of the 2021-2022 school year there were 18,430 kindergartens and general education institutions, both public and private, including 3,083 community kindergartens.

He also noted that there were 13,681 public general education institutions and 1,666 private educational institutions.

He added that in total there were 3,589,025 students, of whom 50.4 per cent were female and of which 71,399 were community kindergarten students, and the breakdown between public and private schooling showed that there were 3,277,076 general education students in public schools and 240,550 private school students.

“Although the teaching and learning processes over the past two years have been disrupted by the Covid-19 crisis, the education ministry has continued to implement the reform programme and it turned the Covid-19 crisis into an opportunity,” he said.