A network of child and youth organisations in Cambodia has called on partner organisations to continue assisting government efforts to provide education during the Covid-19 pandemic, warning that dropouts are rising as some children lack resources to access study materials online.
The request for support came via an online discussion on December 14 under the theme “Covid-19 Crisis Affects Education of Children and Youth” held by the Child Rights Coalition Cambodia (CRC-Cambodia) with participation from Save the Children in Cambodia, Plan International Cambodia, ChildFund and World Vision International Cambodia.
Ieng Morokot of the Child Advocate Network noted during the discussion that the studies of children in some poorer families had been impacted because they needed to spend time helping with house work to ease the burdens on their families.
“Some students are unable to access online learning materials, and so teachers must visit students to monitor their progress,” she said.
Morokot also requested that partner organisations step up efforts to supply students with whatever materials they need to continue with their schooling.
Uem Sok Net, a member of the Cambodia Children and Young People Movement for Child Rights (CCYMCR) who is currently studying Grade 12 in Kampong Chhnang province, said her education during the Covid-19 crisis has suffered amid school closures because she does not have sufficient resources, including reliable internet access.
“My studies have worsened because I have little time for homework. Also, the internet coverage is weak and slow during online classes so learning has been difficult,” she said.
Sok Net observed that impoverished children face the greatest obstacles to online learning because many do not have smartphones and, therefore, have no access to the internet.
“Children in my community want to continue studying since the schools have been closed. Some children do independent research on their own at home, but others have decided to abandon school work because they lack access to study materials online,” she said.
After cases of Covid-19 were discovered earlier this year, schools in Cambodia have been closed periodically since mid-March. Students have been forced to study from home with classes conducted online.
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport is cooperating with the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, in conjunction with private sector development partners, to establish ubiquitous internet connections for public educational institutions across the country by 2023.