At the inauguration of the 2023-24 academic year at Oudong High School in Kampong Speu province, Minister of Education, Youth and Sport Hang Chuon Naron urged national and international organisations and parents to actively support the educational sector. 

Stating the importance of instilling virtues and morality in student’s lives, he pointed out the collective responsibility.

Chuon Naron framed the onset of the new school year as a positive beginning to the first phase of the new government’s Pentagonal Strategy. This strategic approach prioritises the educational sector, aiming to cultivate human resources and empower Cambodians with extensive knowledge, skills and ethics. The overarching goal is to actively contribute to social development and foster sustainable, inclusive economic growth.

“I ask relevant institutions, units, local and international organisations to collaborate with us in backing and enhancing the educational sector. I also urge parents nationwide to actively engage in educating their children, instilling values of respect, good behaviour, virtuous conduct and gratitude towards their teachers,” he said.

He also said that educators, whether in the public or private sector, are instrumental in imparting a profound understanding of morality and ethics, aiding students in distinguishing between right and wrong and guiding them towards a promising future.

During the ceremony, he outlined plans for the 2023-24 academic year, stating that the education ministry aims to identify and support approximately 500 sample schools for assessment. The expectation is to elevate these schools to model standards within the next two years. 

“We will form an assessment team responsible for evaluating schools. The assessments, based on established standards and indicators, aim to provide support and assist schools that fall short. We are committed to motivating schools to reach and maintain these standards of excellence,” he said.

He also committed to implementing Prime Minister Hun Manet’s initiative effectively over the course of the next two years, while pledging to achieve the ministry’s goal of transforming model schools into exemplary schools. The ministry has initiated the selection process for model schools, with the official announcement scheduled for an educational conference in April 2024.

For the 2023-24 academic year, there are 4,651 public kindergartens with 239,418 students, 7,348 primary schools with 2,073,451 students, 1,244 secondary schools with 512,396 students, and 575 high schools with 475,168 students. Female students number 127,493 in kindergartens, 1,222,271 in primary schools, 257,761 in secondary schools, and 270,519 in high schools.

Kong Samneang, head of the Federation of Education Services in Cambodia, said on December 3 that the success and productivity of education relies on the active participation of all stakeholders across the country. Therefore, he deemed Chuon Naron ‘s call as the most accurate and crucial initiative.

“The minister’s comments were invaluable, highlighting that the ministry, schools and teachers cannot achieve this goal alone. Thus, the genuine value of education is bestowed by students, their communities and their parents or guardians,” he said.

He also said that families must invest time in participating in school activities and overseeing their children’s studies to gain insights into their education. Unfortunately, a significant number of parents have tended to neglect this crucial aspect, being engrossed in their business and work. As a result, relying solely on schools and teachers hinders the flourishing of the national educational sector.