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Since his students in the countryside could not access online classes, he goes to them
PHNOM PENH--As schools have been closed to curb the spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), students and teachers in Cambodia are encouraged to conduct classes online to prevent education disruption.
But not all have been able to do as instructed as both students and teachers in rural areas have limited resources for learning alternatives.
To deal with this challenge, a primary school teacher in Tbong Khmum province has decided to travel every day to teach his students in small groups at their homes in different villages.
Sen Vanna is a fourth-grade teacher at Hun Sen Chheuteal primary school in Peam Chileang commune, Tboung Khmum district. Over the past few days, the 64-year-old teacher has had to travel eight kilometers to teach his students from one village to another.
“First we try to find any house, which has huge space and big [sitting area]: Then I can tell four or five of our students to congregate there under the house,” Vanna told Cambodianess in a phone interview on Saturday (May 9).
“I teach each group for half an hour and then I go to another house where four or five students are already there waiting for me to teach them because they have different study schedules,” he said, adding that this way of delivering lessons started after he received information from the provincial Education Department.
However, Vanna said, not all his 40 students have had the opportunity to attend his teaching daily as some of them have to help their parents with farming at this time of year.
“Not all the 40 students under my management could study,” he said. “Only the younger ones who stay home can participate in group study while other students, who are older, have to help their parents farming—they could not study.”
For Vanna, traveling a long way to teach from one house to another in different villages is undoubtedly tiring but, he said, with this work he doesn’t have time to get bored and it is also his obligation as a teacher.
“It is a bit exhausting, but I am really sure that my students don’t waste their time using phone to play game,” he said.
Late last month, Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron urged parents and guardians to assist and support students’ self-studies at home and to help them take advantage of courses set up online by the ministry while schools are closed.
On March 16, Cambodia announced nationwide school closures covering all educational institutions at all levels, both public and private as part of the country’s efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19. On April 19, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport extended school closure until further notice.
Even though there has been a slowdown in infection with the country reporting no new case for the 28th consecutive day on Sunday (May 10), the health authorities continue to warn the public of a possible second wave of coronavirus infection if people are neglectful, which is why a decision to relax restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the disease, such as reopening schools, may take some time.