US Peace Corps to Support English-Language Teaching in 12 Provinces in Cambodia

Phnom Penh — A group of 34 U.S. Peace Corps volunteers will be assigned to 12 provinces in the country with the task of working alongside Cambodian teachers to support the teaching of English in primary and secondary schools.

The U.S. 15th Peace Corps volunteers, along with 27 other volunteers, will co-teach English in the country as part of the English Teaching and Teacher Training program (ETTT) of Peace Corps Cambodia, helping Cambodian youth develop essential English language skills.

The volunteers will be working in Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Kampong Cham, Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Thom, Kampot, Prey Veng, Pursat, Siem Reap, Svay Rieng, Takeo, and Tboung Khmum provinces.

Before officially becoming volunteers, these 14 men and 20 women went through 10 weeks of training from Oct. 9 to Dec. 15. The training focused on five subjects: Khmer language and culture, English language teaching methodology and techniques, healthcare, safety and security.

Mam Kay, vice governor of Takeo province where the training took place, pointed out that the Peace Corps program has helped Cambodia over the years, significantly supporting the Cambodian government's poverty reduction strategy by assisting Cambodians through their collaboration and having a genuine impact on their lives.

Put Samith, undersecretary of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport, said that the ministry supports this work since English and computer classes benefit Cambodian students. “I hope this cooperation remains strong and lasts forever,” he said. “I hope Cambodia or Takeo Province helps the volunteers…learn Cambodian traditions and culture [leaving them] with good memories. Although they [had to leave] their families and country, and came to Cambodia, they help Cambodian students learn.”

U.S. Ambassador W. Patrick Murphy pointed out that this volunteering will help Cambodian young people develop important language skills and strengthen the two countries’ relationship. “For the last 16 years, the Peace Corps has been part of a tradition here in the kingdom that ensures ties between the Cambodian and American people.”

During the volunteers’ swearing-in ceremony on Dec. 15, Peace Corps volunteer Kody Mason said, “[w]e have shown great strength in developing our abilities as teachers and learners. As a result, we have made it to a great milestone in our service.” As the volunteers are assigned to the various provinces in the country, they will have to adapt to the community and themselves be students as they work with their counterparts, she added.

The first U.S. Peace Corps volunteers arrived in Cambodia in 2007, working on health projects from 2011 to 2018. Until now, 750 volunteers have worked in English education projects although this was put on hold from March 2020 to October 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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