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Government policy to boost STEM learning

Visitors learn about the value of STEM education at a US Embassy-sponsored event last year. Photo supplied
Visitors learn about the value of STEM education at a US Embassy-sponsored event last year. Photo supplied

Government policy to boost STEM learning

The government has broadly adopted a policy to improve STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) teaching in a bid to turn around the Kingdom’s dismal pass rates for the subjects in the 12th grade national examinations, according to a government official.

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport approved the policy last month, ministry educational planning specialist Onn Sivutha confirmed yesterday during a three-day STEM policy workshop organised by UNESCO.

Under the policy, STEM textbooks are to be developed, more teachers recruited and trained, and a new curriculum created.

Education officials and experts at the workshop said it would give Cambodia’s economic development a push.

However, there was still no money allocated, numbers on teachers or timeframes, said Sivutha, who said the policy could take years to have an effect.

He said whether the policy would bear results would depend on significant funding and commitment. “There could be many policies, but we have to implement them,” he said.

Current primary textbooks don’t include science topics.

During the 2015 national examination, out of 83,325 students, only 23.3 per cent passed the math portion, while 41.7 per cent passed the biology portion.

Architecture, civil engineering, and food safety are among the top 20 most-needed STEM jobs in the Kingdom over the next 10 years, according to a British Embassy guide.

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