The ministries of Education; Labour and Vocational Training, and Unesco continue to collaborate on the four-year Basic Education Equivalency Programme (Beep) 2020-23 which has so far benefitted more than 2,000 school dropouts across the 15 provinces, of which nearly 30 per cent are female.

The Beep joint initiative which was implemented to provide flexible, alternative education options to out-of-school youth to complete lower secondary or basic education equivalent to grade 9, is now set to expand after a successful first year.

The Ministry of Education’s Accreditation Committee secretary-general and spokesman Ros Soveacha said the initiative has already set up six learning centres in Siem Reap, six in Phnom Penh and one in Battambang, bringing the total to 13.

“This year, we aim to create eight more learning centres, four of them implemented by each of the two ministries.

“In 2020-23, we will expand Beep to a number of Community Learning Centres in the capital and 14 other provinces,” he said.

Soveacha said the achievements so far were the result of positive cooperation between all parties involved, and that the move to create further learning centres was evidence of the commitment to improving education.

Unesco’s education programme officer Leav Kimlay told The Post on Tuesday that the decision to expand the Beep was made because of the increasing demand for access from dropouts since the implementation of the programme.

“The dropouts who come will have not yet completed basic education equivalent to the ninth grade.

“They register to earn a diploma to attend the Ministry of Labour’s Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) or continue their studies at a technical level in high school. They can access these skills for free,” he said.

Soveacha said the Beep programme will allow students to learn in a flexible, integrated, two-way system, meaning that students can learn online at home or when they are free.

He said before each session, the students have to meet with the programme management team as well as a mentor at the Institute of Technology of Cambodia (ITC).

The programme is divided into courses, with each lasting six to eight months, with students being required to meet with a mentor twice a month throughout the programme before sitting for an examination.

The basic education will help youth find better jobs or further their education and improve their opportunities, productivity and life skills, Ros Soveacha said.