The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport will delay school openings and Baccalaureate examinations until the end of the year to prevent a second wave of Covid-19.
Meantime, as the government moves to offer digital learning services, about 50 per cent of Cambodia’s three million students still cannot fully access digital lessons.
Minister of Education, Youth and Sport Hang Chuon Naron made the remarks at a press conference for the construction of the “Centre for Digital and Distance Education” at Preah Sisowath High School on Sunday.
He said the government’s stance is to continue being careful as it doesn’t want Covid-19 spreading again in Cambodia.
He said Cambodia has had peace for 20 years, and within that time, the county has achieved great things. If Covid-19 spreads in Cambodia, the country will be set back 10 to 20 years, he said.
Chuon Naron said: “We have to wait a little longer to see how it’s going in other places. We are waiting to see what happens to countries that open their schools first.
“Opening school late is much better than opening school with high risks. This is the stance of Prime Minister Hun Sen.”
Chuon Naron said he already has a strategy for reopening schools, and that he would only like to re-open them if they can adhere to high standards.
Any school which is crowded with students and cannot implement guidelines by the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation will not be allowed to re-open.
He said: “We will continue the multi-teaching methods, both online learning and classroom learning. If the Covid-19 situation becomes normal, we will teach as much as possible.”
Chuon Naron said there are three million students enrolled at state general education schools. Among them, 30 per cent can buy smartphones and computers and 30 per cent can learn through television.
“Among the three million students, there are only one-and-a-half million who have accessed the digital education system. The other half depends on the books published by the ministry,” he said.
On April 8, the ministry issued a letter extending the lower secondary diploma examinations and the secondary school diploma examinations for the 2019-2020 academic year to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The ministry said: “Delay the lower secondary diploma examinations which were scheduled for August 3 to 10 and delay the secondary diploma examinations which were scheduled for August 17 to September 9. The ministry will determine the new dates and announce them later.”