New information and communication technology (ICT) devices, including 104 laptops and a slide projector, were donated by UNESCO to the education ministry to measure students’ early-grade reading and mathematics assessments (EGRA and EGMA).

Ministry secretary of state Nath Bunroeun said the assessments will further facilitate the Strengthening Teacher Education Programme (STEP) in Cambodia, a three-year initiative with UNESCO, in 340 schools in nine provinces.

STEP is one of Cambodia’s largest and most comprehensive teacher education programmes implemented since 2018, with support from US-based Global Partnership for Education, the ministry said in a statement.

While the negative effects of the pandemic affected the education system, the use of technology helped to reduce any learning loss during school closures.

STEP helped to raise the capacity of teachers in Cambodia while recognising that “well-prepared” and “motivated” teachers were critical to ensure quality learning among students.

One key intervention under the programme focuses on strengthening competencies of early-grade teachers in Khmer literacy and mathematics.

“As teachers of young children, they play an especially important role in building a strong foundation in core competencies such as reading and numeracy skills, which are critical for every child’s success in later grades,” the statement read.

The ministry said the “learner-driven, play-based Maths packages” were developed as part of a collaboration with STEP partners and launched together with UNESCO in November 2020.

“To make the final assessment more efficient, UNESCO donated the ICT devices to the education department to implement and manage the EGRA and EGMA online process in the near future,” Bunroeun said.

The devices would help the ministry’s Primary Education Department to adopt “blended modalities” in its teacher training programmes to further roll out the new early-grade mathematics teaching and learning materials.

With the new laptops, the department will be able to manage and analyse data of the mentoring programme more systematically to enhance the mentoring programme and ensure that teachers continue to be supported to improve their teaching skills.

Since 2021, UNESCO has donated 658 tablets, 49 laptops and videoconferencing equipment to the ministry.

“I would like to thank UNESCO for donating the electronic materials to support the implementation of early-grade reading assessment and early-grade mathematics assessment,” he said.

With investments in digital transformation today, Cambodia will be able to better harness technologies to build more resilient, equitable and inclusive systems that will benefit all learners.

UNESCO representative to Cambodia Sardar Umar Alam said teachers must be equipped with digital capabilities, and supported by the required digital infrastructure, for them to provide quality education.

“The investments in digital technology at different levels of the education system will ensure that we build back better with a more resilient and inclusive education system that truly provides education for all learners in Cambodia,” he said.