The government wants national, international and community institutions to pay more attention to literacy as part of a 2030 sustainable development goal to make literacy a foundation of lifelong learning.
To mark International Literacy Day on September 8, Prime Minister Hun Sen is urging all ministries, institutions, educational institutions, educational centres, and pagodas to develop rich and flexible lifelong learning programmes to meet the needs of educators, and education services for citizens.
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport celebrates International Literacy Day every year by issuing guidelines to the capital and all 24 provinces to publish banners and other content under the theme “Literacy is the foundation of lifelong learning”.
The celebrations have been interrupted this year because of Covid-19.
Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha told The Post on Tuesday that the latest data shows the literacy rate for those from 15 years and above is 82.5 per cent nationwide.
“In 2019, the government issued a national policy on lifelong learning to provide opportunities for Cambodians of all ages to have lifelong learning opportunities in all forms, anywhere, and anytime possible.
“The theme for this year is to enhance the existing spirit of greater participation in all relevant parties,” Soveacha said.
He said the literacy programme not only teaches students to read and write but help Cambodians learn financial and digital literacy.
UNESCO National Education Programme Officer Lay Vutha told The Post that for Cambodia, the illiteracy situation has decreased significantly. He said his organisation and related institutions have launched several campaigns to promote national literacy.
“Only about 10 per cent of the population is illiterate. This is because the Ministry of Education has launched enrolment campaigns to boost education participation by almost 100 per cent.
“But the challenge is the secondary school dropout rate in grades seven and eight is more than 20 per cent and mostly female students,” Vutha said.
Hun Sen has also requested that heads of factories, enterprises and private companies continue to promote literacy classes, combined with vocational training for workers.
The ministry has partnered with 11 factories in the capital and provinces to provide workers with access to literacy programmes.
It has also cooperated with the Ministry of Interior to open 38 literacy classes in correctional centres and prisons.