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- 15/08/2020 6:27 PM
PHNOM PENH-- The European Union (EU) has contributed 2 million euros (about 2.35 million U.S. dollars) to Cambodia for the safe re-opening of schools, as part of the support to the COVID-19 response and recovery, said a joint press release on Wednesday.
Through this support, a nationwide back to school campaign has been launched by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), providing practical guidance to children, parents, teachers and school personnel on making schools as safe as possible and reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission, the press release said.
"This campaign will continue through 2021, expanding to include valuable and engaging information not only to make schools safe but also a healthy and caring environment for children to learn and thrive," it said.
In addition, critical hygiene supplies are being delivered to all 11,500 of the country's pre-schools and primary schools, it added.
"We welcome the additional support from the European Union for our schools and students across the country at this very challenging time," said Hang Chuon Naron, Cambodia's Minister of Education, Youth and Sports.
"This support will enable us to ensure children have continued opportunities to learn, despite the challenges COVID-19 is creating."
The support for safe school re-openings from the EU and other UNICEF-managed multi-donor Capacity Development Partnership Fund (CDPF) partners will go a long way towards giving confidence to communities that students can now return to safe and supportive learning environments, the minister said.
According to the press release, other CDPF partners are contributing to the provision of hygiene supplies to all 1,771 secondary schools in Cambodia.
Carmen Moreno, EU Ambassador to Cambodia, said education is a basic human right and a key building block for Cambodia's development.
"All over the world, COVID-19 is causing disruptions to the educational opportunities for children, and this could become an obstacle to our future recovery," she said.
Foroogh Foyozat, UNICEF representative in Cambodia, said any crisis also brings about opportunities to rethink and rebuild better.
"It is important that the COVID-19 response serves as a catalyst to opening up schools even better than before so that they become more inclusive and resilient," she said. "This can be materialized through unified efforts of development partners and strong leadership of the government."
Cambodia has seen success in controlling the COVID-19 outbreak. The kingdom has so far recorded a total of 283 confirmed COVID-19 cases, the Ministry of Health said, adding that none have died and 278 have recovered.