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Work to combat illiteracy outlined

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A student walked out from Boeung Trabek High School in Phnom Penh on the final day of this year's Grade 12 exams last week. Hean Rangsey

Work to combat illiteracy outlined

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport said on Monday that it had developed a lifelong education policy to tackle illiteracy, with a supporting legal framework, and provided guidance on implementing non-formal education programmes and strategic plans to collaborate with development partners and the private sector.

Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha told The Post that the ministry had also been focusing on designing and improving curriculums and implementing national literacy programmes and literacy sessions for workers in factories.

Besides, he said, the ministry had also provided a contracted literacy teachers’ framework with a monthly allowance of 50 per cent to 60 per cent of the new primary teachers’ salary.

Soveacha said the ministry had also provided materials for classrooms and organised classes in areas with the majority of illiterate people coming from correctional centres, prisons, factories and other enterprises.

“Literacy is a bridge to develop individuals, families and society.

“As literacy is an active catalyst in promoting social, cultural and economic progress, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport undertakes to implement the recommendations of [Prime Minister] Samdech Techo Hun Sen, especially to play a role in facilitating relevant mechanisms,” he said.

Soveacha said the youth literacy rate of 15- to 24-year-olds in 2017 was 94.6 per cent, and the adult literacy rate was 82.5 per cent.

The Ministry of Education had cooperated with a number of partners in literacy work, particularly with Unesco, Ros Soveacha said.

Ahead of National Literacy Day on September 8, Hun Sen said in a letter dated August 19 that the ministry, in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior, would hold 25 literacy classes for 592 detainees in correctional centres nationwide.

The prime minister said the classes would provide the detainees with reading, writing and mathematical skills to help solve everyday problems.

“They will have the opportunity to further their skills to help them reintegrate into society and earn a living after regaining their freedom,” he said.

Hun Sen said the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport had cooperated with the private sector to provide workers at 11 factories with access to literacy programmes to improve their performance and assist them in finding jobs with higher incomes.

The factory owners would also benefit from the programmes, he said.

Hun Sen called on communities, national and international organisations and all citizens to pay more attention to literacy, as well as both formal and non-formal education, to more effectively promote literacy in Cambodia.

Yong Kim Eng, the president of the People Centre for Development and Peace, told The Post on Monday that an illiterate person was someone who needed help.

He said illiterate people’s ability to make a living in society is in jeopardy. “They need support to access specific information and training to be able to earn a decent wage.

“Vocational training should not be conducted in cities. It should be held at the commune level so everyone can attend. That’s the main thing.

“Also, there must be clear data and more assistance for illiterate people. Some of the commune budgets can be used to build their capacity,” Kim Eng said.

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