The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport has transformed the Hands of Hope Community – an NGO-run autism school in Takhmo commune's Prek Samrong village in Kandal province’s Takhmao town – into a public high school for the academic year 2020-2021 onwards.

According to the ministry's prakas dated February 3 and made public on June 3, the Hands of Hope Community is now named Takhmao Special Needs Education High School.

“The Takhmao Special Needs Education High School is led by a principal and one or more vice principals who fulfill duties as deputies where necessary. The school also has other staff members in accordance with the standards letters for special needs education.

“The principal and vice principals are entitled to receive state allowance as decided by the government,” said the prakas.

The transformation came after the Council of Ministers, with an approval from Prime Minister Hun Sen, granted the ministry's request to turn it into a public school.

According to a letter dated January 25 addressed to the Kandal Provincial Administration and the ministries of education, Economy and Finance, and Public Service, all of its 26 teachers and staff members have been incorporated into the state employment framework from the date of the announcement.

The high school principal, Chan Sarin, told The Post on June 4 he was happy that the government had decided to incorporate his NGO into the state framework because it had faced a shortfall in its budget since last year.

He said the Hands of Hope Community has a total of five branches in Phnom Penh and Kandal province, with 205 students, 40 full-time teachers and 10 volunteers.

He said all the five branches will now be merged to provide education for students from kindergarten level to grade 12.