The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport has established eight priority areas for reforms with a strong emphasis on human resources, global citizenship and Cambodia’s development, according to its spokesman Ros Soveacha.

Soveacha spoke at a press conference on the ministry’s five-year achievements, organised by the Government Spokesperson Unit at the Council of Ministers on August 16.

The main reforms will be focused on schools, teacher development through teacher training institutions, digital education, science and technology education, health promotion, youth development to improve skills in the 21st century, the establishment of a Centre of Excellence in Higher Education, system building and capacity development.

For the first priority of school reform, he said that the ministry aims to open a new generation of schools focused on providing autonomy in the curricula implementation to educate skilled human resources for the 21st century, including school management and teachers along with more effective schools with a focus on schools that are accountable to the community and achieve effective school standards.

“The second priority is teacher training, which is at the heart of the education system. Teachers are at the forefront of all education efforts,” Soveacha said.

He added that teachers in the 21st century must have high professional standards through the reform of teacher training institutions and focusing on improving teacher training programmes.

Soveacha noted that for the third priority, digital education, the pandemic actually helped Cambodia shift to digital 10 years ahead of schedule and that the education ministry intends to continue to promote digital education and the integration of technology into the classroom.

For the fourth priority – STEM education – he stressed that increasing the number of students and attracting high school and higher education students to study science and technology is an important factor in responding to the Industrial Revolution 4.0 and digital promotion policy of government.

Soveacha said that for the fifth priority, schools must continue to establish health education committees and they have to improve health infrastructure, such as setting up standard nurse stations, green school environments, and maintain clean schools with no garbage.

Schools also have to promote the use of clean water and hygiene, focusing on drinking water, hand washing area, toilets, wearing masks and keeping a safe distance and promote nutrition by focusing on food safety and school feeding.

“21st Century Youth is a successor and a pillar for the social and economic development of Cambodia towards achieving the vision of Cambodia in 2030 and 2050,” Soveacha said regarding the sixth priority.

In the seventh priority of “Establishment of the Center of Excellence in Higher Education,” he said that the reform of higher education will ensure the training of human resources to serve the socio-economic development of Cambodia.

He added that higher education institutions must focus on strengthening governance, improving the qualifications of professors for Master’s and doctoral degrees, improving curricula and learning resources, using technology and applying modern teaching methods, research focused on agricultural science and technology and increasing investment in infrastructure.

In the final reform area of system building and capacity development, Soveacha stated that in response to the strategic framework and programmes in place to restore and promote Cambodia’s economic growth the education sector requires leadership that is intelligent, lively, proactive and gentle in resolving issues and responding immediately to crises that disrupt teaching and learning in Cambodia and around the world.

“The common vision 2023-2028 plan will continue to promote the development of quality human resources and a balance between physical fitness, job skills, ethical behaviour and patriotic consciousness and the humanities, especially in-line with the needs of socio-economic development,” Soveacha said.