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Innovative approach to improving literacy in Cambodia

Although more children in Cambodia are accessing educational opportunities than ever before, the quality of education in some areas remains poor. Classrooms are not equipped for the learning needs of students, teachers are under-qualified and poorly paid, and the education curriculum is outdated. This has led to a situation where many young children are unable to read properly.

Recognising that literacy is the cornerstone of education, one local NGO, Kampuchean Action for Primary Education (KAPE) has taken upon itself to improve the learning environment in Cambodian primary schools. Over the past four years, KAPE has achieved tremendous success in raising education standards in Cambodia and making school environments more child-friendly.

In 2014, ChildFund Cambodia partnered with KAPE to implement a pilot project called Easy2Learn in eight primary schools in Svay Chrum District, Svay Rieng Province. The project used a groundbreaking approach, which utilised mobile technology to help children learn literacy skills more effectively. Older student tutors were paired with younger student learners to help them read and write using special reading toolkits and tablets. Outdated school libraries were also redesigned to make them more fun and appealing for students to use.

 

Children reading at a newly designed school library in Svay Chrum District.

The results of the project show that it has been highly successful. Children’s reading scores have almost tripled through their involvement in the project and they are now more motivated than ever to read.

One student says: “I feel satisfied and happy to learn in this new way, as I didn’t have the opportunity to learn together with other Khmer students previously, whereas now I do.”

It is not only the young students who have benefitted. The project has also improved the relationship between ChildFund Cambodia and school teachers, and parents are now playing an active role in their children’s education by improving the school grounds and using games to teach their children to read at home.

Due to these successes, ChildFund has now expanded the project to other schools in Svay Rieng Province, which will enable more children to reap the benefits of improved literacy.

This project is supported by the Australian Government’s aid program.

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