Cambodian gov't, partners support quality education after schools reopen amid COVID-19

tudents queue for temperature check and hand sanitization at a primary school in Phnom Penh Nov. 1, 2021.

PHNOM PENH-- Cambodia's Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron and development partners on Thursday witnessed the use of the new home learning packages which are being distributed to all 760,180 children in public schools Grade 1 and Grade 2 after schools reopened.

The delegation visited a primary school in central Kampong Chhnang province, which has recently reopened and was invited to observe young students learning with the help of the learning packages, a joint press statement said.

The home learning packages were created by the Ministry of Education with funding from the Capacity Development Partnership Fund (CDPF) partners to support learning during school closures and as they begin to reopen.

The packages include age-appropriate self-study materials to improve reading, writing, spelling as well as mathematics, all complementing the Ministry of Education's Grade 1 and 2 curricula, the statement said.

While most schools in Cambodia reopened on Nov. 1, many are using a hybrid approach which combines face-to-face and home learning, and the home learning packages can be used both in the classroom and at home, with the help of either teachers or parents.

"As the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and schools reopen, the education of our youngest children is a top priority," Chuon Naron said, noting that "the learning packages will make sure that children can learn effectively."

Foroogh Foyouzat, representative of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to Cambodia, said she was very happy to see schools reopen again after a long hiatus due to the pandemic.

"We'll continue to work with the Ministry of Education and all our CDPF partners to help children, especially the most vulnerable, recover the learning they have lost during the pandemic," she said.

Primary schools and kindergartens are the latest general education institutions that have been reopened since Monday after secondary and high schools as well as universities have been reopened since mid-September.

The Southeast Asian nation has so far vaccinated 13.85 million people, or 86.5 percent of its 16-million population against the COVID-19, and has seen a significant decline in new infections and fatalities, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH).

The kingdom reported 83 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, pushing the national total caseload to 118,870, the MoH said, adding that six new fatalities were recorded, bringing the overall death toll to 2,813.

Additional 96 patients recovered, taking the total number of recoveries to 115,207, the MoH said.

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