Prime Minister Hun Sen called on state institutions, the general public and international development partners to pay more attention to the problem of literacy in Cambodia in order to help the nation achieve its sustainable development goals by 2030 and successfully pursue its new growth strategy.
Hun Sen made the call in an address marking National Literacy Day on September 8. This year, the event is observed with the theme “literacy is the foundation of lifelong learning” to encourage all Cambodians to continue to pursue learning opportunities throughout their lives.
The theme is not just about learning to read and write, but also about opportunities for people to acquire knowledge and skills so that they can engage in entrepreneurship, pursue meaningful careers and innovate in all sectors of society.
“In order to continue contributing to the promotion of literacy in Cambodia more effectively, I would like to call on the relevant ministries and institutions to formulate policies, legal frameworks, documents, norms and necessary mechanisms and lead, manage and implement them efficiently and with the necessary quality to ensure lifelong learning for all people,” Hun Sen said.
He added that all ministries, institutions, educational institutions, study centres, pagodas and all those involved in both formal and informal education programmes have to continue to promote lifelong learning among Cambodians by emphasising the fundamental importance of literacy.
Local authorities at all levels have to continue to pay more attention to the development of learning infrastructure like study centres and encourage people who have not studied or who dropped out of school to pursue opportunities to study. In particular, they have to strive to make it easier for people with disabilities to have access to equitable and inclusive education, according to Hun Sen.
“All media – including public and private entities – please help spread the word about all of our literacy programmes widely so that our people have a broader understanding of the topic of literacy as the foundation of lifelong learning,” he added.
The prime minister also asked students and student organisations such as the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia (UYFC), youth scouts and youth from the Cambodian Red Cross to actively take part on a voluntary basis in teaching the illiterate to read and write.
“Pagodas and churches also have to mobilise monks, priests, nuns and other clergy to participate in promoting vocational literacy programmes by preaching the importance of literacy to learning about morality and spirituality while promoting the culture of living as global citizens,” he said.
Hun Sen also asked that managers of factories, enterprises and private companies encourage literacy classes for their employees combined with vocational training for them for their own benefit and for the benefit of their factories.
“We all need to remember that where there is literacy, there is thinking and making the right decisions. Literacy leads to greater community development. When there is literacy, there is harmony in the lives of individuals, families and society,” he said.
The prime minister also stated that due to the ongoing outbreak of Covid-19, no public gatherings would be allowed to celebrate National Literacy Day on September 8 in person as usual, but some events that day will be held online instead.