Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said the strengthening of Cambodia’s education sector was a top priority for the government, adding that they will expand the provision of scholarships for outstanding and underprivileged students.
The prime minister’s comments were made during a Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport meeting assessing the 2017-18 academic year and setting goals for 2018-19 at the Institute of Technology of Cambodia in Phnom Penh.
Hun Sen said he appreciated the efforts of the ministry as well as lecturers, teachers, students, parents, communities and local authorities throughout the country – for contributing to the development of Cambodia’s education system.
“I would like to express my appreciation to development partners, national and international organisations, and all relevant institutions for cooperating and providing support, financial and material, in helping make and implement action plans in the education sector."
“Strengthening the quality of Cambodia’s education is a priority for the government. [Measures have included] technical and vocational education and training, science and technology training and job market orientation, especially strengthening technical skills for youths aimed at ensuring each one has at least one skill to improve their livelihoods and contribute to social development and the national economy,” he said.
He continued that educational reforms – such as building new schools, strengthening the quality of learning and teaching, and updating curriculums – will increase the quality of Cambodian workers to meet the demands of the Kingdom’s job market.
“The government will continue to provide an additional annual budget for education to recruit and train teachers, which is the main priority, in order to . . . improve the curriculum and strengthen management ability and exam quality,” Hun Sen said.
Role of academic staff
He added that the government is considering salary increases for teachers and academic staff, as well as making efforts to mobilise resources from all areas, including the private sector, to get them to participate in investing in education and vocational training.
However, he said that those working in the education sector had their role to play too.
“You must make efforts to promote and expand education programmes for children and ensure they attend school for at least nine years in an environment with clean water and good hygiene. You must grant scholarships to outstanding students, those facing difficulties, and especially female students and those from poor families,” Hun Sen said.
Minister of Education, Youth and Sport Hang Chuon Naron said at the conference that the ministry had noticed the increasing quality of students, especially female students, as a result of more than five years of education reforms.
“Because of gradual strengthening and expanding until now, almost 100 per cent of students receive an education to primary school level."
“We all vow that we will improve our education sector to respond to the government’s desire to push Cambodia to reach middle income country status,” he said.