Plan International Cambodia (PIC) and its partners are working with provincial departments of education, youth and sport across the country to initiate campaigns to encourage children, particularly girls, to return to school this month.
Plan’s deputy country director of programmes Yi Kimthan told The Post on September 14 that their partner NGO, the Sovann Phoum Organisation, had started the campaign this month and will continue it to the end of the year in Ratanakkiri, Stung Treng and Siem Reap to push children to return to school.
“I think if we don’t have a campaign to push children to go back to school, it may be that many students won’t bother returning after missing it for so many months. They may go work in the rice fields with their parents, and girls are especially susceptible to dropping out, often to get married,” he said.
Kimthan said the campaign was also working with the provincial education departments to promote virtual learning and learning in small groups by providing study materials to students at homes or within their communities.
“We have worked with the community and schools to raise our voices in calling on parents to send their children back to school. We explained to them that their children should return to school while wearing facemasks and maintaining health measures,” he said.
This campaign will also equip some schools with temperature scanners, masks, sanitisers, hand washing basins and other supplies.
Education ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said the ministry welcomed and thanked development partners such as Plan and other organisations in the NGO sector for their contributions towards promoting quality education while strengthening public health.
The education ministry on September 13 urged children whose schools were not reopening this month to continue with distance learning in small groups or at individual’s houses for now while following health measures.
Authorities and school administrators across the country are preparing to reopen many of Cambodia’s middle and high schools as soon as September 15.