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PM reopens kindergartens

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A kindergarten teacher holding class in Kep province in 2020. Hong Menea

PM reopens kindergartens

Prime Minister Hun Sen gave permission to open the school year for kindergarteners aged 3-5 on January 10. Children in the Kingdom aged three and four have not been vaccinated for Covid-19, though they do receive vaccinations for other diseases.

The prime minister’s decision came in response to a request by Minister of Education, Youth and Sport Hang Chuon Naron.

“The new school year 2021-2022 will open on January 10 and at the request of [Chuon Naron] we will reopen kindergarten for children aged 3 to 5,” Hun Sen said at the awards ceremony for Cambodian petanque player Ouk Sreymom on January 5.

“It’s an opportune moment for us to open because the vaccines have been rolled out. Previously, I said that we had to be careful and not behave negligently, but now we’ve observed that community infection numbers are down since we have vaccinated people, including 5-year-olds.

“Children aged three and four have been vaccinated against other diseases and the level of infection is low,” he said.

Hun Sen added that the reopening of school for young children eased the burden on parents who have difficulty supervising their children because when parents go to work they can leave their children at kindergarten so that they can study and be looked after.

“This is a notice to the general public about the opening of schools. All grandchildren should be prepared to go to school on January 10. Today is January 5, and there are only 5 days left before school starts, including the smallest grandchildren who have to go to kindergarten,” he said.

Hun Sen also called on the public to exercise caution in light of the Omicron variant, saying that sometimes family members infect their children and then the children go to kindergarten and spread it to others who then bring it home which infects more families.

Naron instructed the capital and provincial departments of education, kindergartens and all child education service providers to start opening kindergartens and child education services from January 10 across the country with the school year scheduled to end on October 31, 2022.

The education ministry said that during the new school year 2021-2022, the education of young children will be focused on five areas of development such as physical health, language, intelligence, social and emotional thinking as well as the development of morality and culture based on the subjects of psychology, science, social studies, pre-mathematics and the Khmer language.

The ministry added that there will be a school vacation from April 6-19, and a longer vacation from November 1-30.

The ministry instructed that opening ceremonies were to be socially distanced and in compliance with the ministry’s standard operating procedures.

As of January 5, over 300,000 children aged 5 have been vaccinated with at least one dose of vaccines, according to the Ministry of Health.

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