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Teachers adapt to Covid era

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Grade 9 students from Bak Kheng Secondary School take an online exam in Prek Leap commune of Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changvar district earlier this month. Hong Menea

Teachers adapt to Covid era

Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport spokesman Ros Soveacha told The Post that the ministry had urged all teacher training institutes to continue to implement their training programmes in full by using empty classrooms as study halls as well as through the continued use of distance learning technology.

“The ministry has assigned instructors areas of responsibility for training teachers for each technical level. This division of duties will make it clear what each person’s responsibilities are in providing training [to teachers] in the use of new teaching methods and information technology in [the classroom],” he said.

The new teaching methods this year that teachers are expected to acquire from their training include active learning, constructive learning, problem-solving learning, research learning and critical thinking – as well as in-person and online class management skills.

The ministry had used the challenge presented by Covid-19 to enhance and strengthen its capacity for online and digital learning, which was already a key component of the Education Strategic Plan 2019-2023, according to Soveacha.

Sao Vanna, executive director of the Kampuchean Action for Primary Education (KAPE), said that with online or distance learning during Covid-19 some teachers had experienced difficulties because they had not gotten any training on how to do it and they lacked appropriate teaching and learning materials for such an arrangement.

Teachers in rural areas also still lacked computers and fast enough internet connections, Vanna said, so the increase in Cambodia’s teachers’ capacity in this area remained limited.

However, he said rural teachers did their best to educate their students by doing things like delivering assignments and documents to students personally and sometimes teaching them in their homes.

Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association (CITA) president Ouk Chhayavy said that with teaching online there were some teachers – especially provincial teachers in remote areas – who still lacked [training in the] proper online techniques and access to materials, and that this was especially true of older teachers.

“Older teachers have great teaching wisdom, but they don’t know the newer teaching methods, especially how to make use of potential new teaching tools like smartphones. They simply have no experience teaching under these conditions,” she said.

Federation of Education Services in Cambodia president Pech Bolen said that private education institutes had long discussed online learning and teaching and were mostly ready for the shift to online during the pandemic because they understood what was required and cooperated to achieve it.

“Private education institutes had prepared lessons and were teaching online already with online classroom portals and thousands of videos. So, teaching and learning in private education institutes has been easier than in 2020,” he said.

Soveacha of the education ministry also confirmed that his ministry was continuing with a temporary halt to all in-person public and private education across the country that began on March 20. He said it would continue until further notice due to Covid-19.

Soveacha said that nationwide students could continue online learning at their respective homes or on the digital platform of the education ministry including: elearning.moeys.gov.kh, youtube.com/moeyscambodia, facebook.com/moeys.gov.kh and youtube.com/eccdcambodia.

In addition to those websites, Soveacha noted that lessons could be found broadcast on TVK2 by the Ministry of Information, via the app of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, the app of the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia and via the privately sponsored app E-School Cambodia.

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