More than 100 enthusiastic students, teachers and community members welcomed the launch of “School Learning Gardens” at Trapeang Svay Primary School in Siem Reap province’s Angkor Thom district on Wednesday.
The three-year pilot project was made possible with support from the Australian government in collaboration with Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation to complement students’ education and integrate lessons through practical activities in vegetable gardens and school kitchens.
Yi Kim Than, the acting country director for Plan International Cambodia said children would establish vegetable gardens, grow seasonal crops and learn how to cook fresh, nutritious food on their own as a part of the project.
“Through it, teachers will utilise the gardens and school kitchens as learning facilities . . . incorporating [them into] Khmer, mathematics, science and socials studies subjects,” said Than.
Puth Samith, the director-general of the General Education Department, said vegetable gardens and kitchens would provide children with a pleasant atmosphere to better strengthen their knowledge – adding that they would foster equality, regardless of sex, culture and age through the communal project.
Than said the project is being implemented at 15 primary schools in Siem Reap and Stung Treng provinces with the additional aim to benefit more than 4,000 vulnerable and disabled children, of whom some 50 per cent are girls.
Yon Kanha, Svay Primary School’s headteacher for the project, said the vegetable gardens would allow students to see practical applications to lessons in their schoolbooks.
“The project is valuable because it allows children to apply lessons to practical activities in vegetable gardens and kitchens at school,” said Kanha.
The project is being implemented in 15 primary schools in Siem Reap and Stung Treng provinces and the number is set to grow thanks to further support from the UN’s World Food Programme.
Than hopes to engage in discussions with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport after the pilot ends in 2021 to expand the project across to schools across the Kingdom.