As the academic year kicks off on January 2, students can now return to school in a “new normal” setting after years of Covid-19 setbacks, Prime Minister Hun Sen said.

“We have prioritised the lives of educational staff and students and practised the preventive measures of the three dos and don’ts as part of our resilient educational system and response to the crisis. Having gone through these experiences, the royal government of Cambodia firmly hopes that the new school year of 2022-2023 will continue smoothly,” he said in a January 1 letter to welcome the new academic year.

Hun Sen said that the ministry has to continue to lead effectively and efficiently by practising “the new normal of education” and ensuring the provision of resilient, live and responsive educational services.

He added that the ministry and relevant parties have to continue to implement and support digital education so that Cambodia can respond to ongoing developments in the national, regional and global contexts of employment, business and education.

The ministry has to also develop capacity and build the educational system to be strong, responsive and accountable while ensuring the efficiency of leadership and in the management of staff at all levels.

“The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport has to make efforts to improve the educational services and programmes to build human resources to meet the needs of the job market in the digital era and the digital economy in the 21st century, particularly in the areas of education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” Hun Sen stated.

He also put emphasis on Covid-19 protective measures, saying that all educational institutions must continue to improve health education and respond to disasters while maintaining preventive measures such as the three dos and don’ts.

He said that in particular they must establish mechanisms and measures that effectively and rapidly respond to “acts of God” such as pandemics or weather and climate related disasters such as flooding.

“All levels of educational institutions have to continue to clean up and make green their school environments so that the schools will be suitable for education and instil clean minds and inspire good attitudes free of mental and physical cruelty. All students please continue to study hard consistently and do good deeds for the growth of the family, society and our whole nation,” he stated.

The prime minister also thanked all teachers and educational staff as well as development partners and the private sector, NGOs and donors for contributing to building and developing the education sector in Cambodia.

Education minister Hang Chuon Naron will preside over the official ceremonial opening of the 2022-2023 school year on January 2 at the campus of Hun Sen Prasout High School in Svay Tiep district of Svay Rieng province.

According to the ministry, the 2022-2023 school year will begin on January 2 and end on November 30, 2023. There are two vacations scheduled during 2023: April 6 to May 18 and December 1-31.

The ministry instructed all schools to hang banners with slogans celebrating the new school year and to invite leaders or officials from the education ministry, provincial departments of education, other local authorities and the parents of students to the event.