Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Child Friendly School policy brings consistency to Cambodian system



Child Friendly School policy brings consistency to Cambodian system

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Pupils paying attention at Boeung Salang Primary School in Toul Kork. Moeun Nhean

Child Friendly School policy brings consistency to Cambodian system

Certificates now demonstrate actual learning rather than mere participation in a program

The launch of the national Child Friendly School policy over a decade ago has gone a long way towards harmonising Cambodia’s education system, bringing consistency to a curriculum that was previously often haphazard.

Under the auspices of Hang Choun Narton, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport has completely overhauled secondary and high school national exam standards, meaning certificates now demonstrate actual learning rather than suggest mere participation in a program.

But what are so-called Child Friendly Schools and what does the system represent?

Rather than requiring the building of new schools, the program instead looks at how institutions are run and requires the implementation of a set of standards and ideals that bring change from within.

Chan Sophea, Vice-Secretary of the Cambodian Council for Youth Development and the head of Primary School Department, said that in order to qualify as a Child Friendly School, the institution needed to have six components.

The first was to strive to give all children, regardless of their means, a place in school and the opportunity to study.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A teacher leads a class at Boeung Salang Primary School. Moeun Nhean

Secondly, the school should improve the quality of learning and teaching and do whatever it takes to help pupils keep up with their education. According to the latest figures available from the Ministry of Education, some 97 percent of Cambodian children are currently enrolled in school.

The third pillar involves the rights of children and the school environment.

“We want teaching without using violence such as beatings or other punishments,” said Sophea. “The school environment is also very important as we need to keep their spaces clean and organised so pupils love coming to school and keep interested.”

The fourth strand of the system states there should be no discrimination based on gender. “Respecting gender means promoting the freedom of both male and female students to acquire equal opportunity to education,” said Sophea.

The fifth principle requires the participation of families and the community as a whole in education, and also allowing children themselves to be heard.

“This is something that all parents and guardians need to understand, and why we have established a Children’s Council in every school,” said Sophea.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A pupil gets involved as a reading class is underway. Moeun Nhean

“Whenever a school or a community has a meeting to decide on something, the Children Council will also be there to participate and voice their suggestion. However, the youngsters must also respect their elders. According to Cambodian custom, youngsters should not interrupt while their elder are talking.

The sixth and final pillar of the Child Friendly School policy calls for government support – both logistical and financial – for all the Kingdom’s schools.

“Systematic support means that the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport will send delegates and funds according to the needs of every school,” said Sophea, adding that ministry figures show Cambodia has some 7,189 schools teaching from Grade 1 to Grade 6.

“In 12 provinces and cities in Cambodia, the government supplies two tons of rice and other food annually to a program provides one meal a day to all students,” said Sophea.

“Moreover, there are about 90,000 poor students receives financial help of $60 (240,000 riels) per year.”

MOST VIEWED

  • PM imposes nationwide Covid restrictions, curfew over Delta scare

    Prime Minister Hun Sen late on July 28 instructed the municipal and provincial authorities nationwide to strictly enforce Covid-19 measures including curfew for two weeks from July 29 midnight through August 12 to stem the new coronavirus Delta variant. The instruction came shortly after he issued a directive

  • Two luxury hotels latest quarantine options for inbound travellers

    The Inter-Ministerial Committee to Combat Covid-19 has designated two luxury hotels as alternative quarantine options for travellers who wish to enter Cambodia through Phnom Penh International Airport – Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel & Residence and the Courtyard by Marriott Phnom Penh. In a notice detailing guidelines issued

  • Provinces on Thai borders put in lockdown amid Delta fears

    The government has decided to place several border provinces in lockdown for two weeks in a bid to prevent the new coronavirus Delta variant spreading further into community. According a directive signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen late on July 28, the provinces include Koh Kong,

  • Delta spreading in Kingdom

    Cambodia has so far detected more than 200 cases of the highly contagious coronavirus Delta variant, with 109 found on July 31 and August 1. The Ministry of Health has expressed deep concerns that the variant may have already reached communities and be spreading as some of the cases

  • US' Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines arrive

    The first batch of 455,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine donated by the US touched down in Phnom Penh on the morning of July 30. They are part of the total 1,060,100 doses the US has pledged to provide to Cambodia through the World Health Organisation-led (

  • China denies Mekong hacking

    As the US and its allies joined hands last week to expose what they allege to be China’s Ministry of State Security’s malicious cyber activities around the world, the attention also turned to Cambodia with the US Department of Justice claiming that four