In Cambodia, as across the world, the Covid-19 pandemic has hit all sectors, including those of education, youth and sport and beyond.
Last year, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) responded promptly to the impacts of Covid-19 on teaching and learning by collaborating with relevant ministries and the private sector to offer blended learning services.
These included on-campus and online learning supported by worksheets and student workbooks as needed.
This year, the Ministry of Education, among other efforts, continues to strengthen quality education and respond to the effects of Covid-19 by concentrating on the following nine priority actions.
1. Opening academic year and preparing focused curriculum
Having launched the new academic year on January 11, MoEYS prepared “Comprehensive Instructions for Implementing Focused Curriculum”.
These specified compulsory and elective subjects, and in-class and self-study lessons to ensure complete student learning, which focuses on important and in-depth objectives and content, especially lessons for Grade 9 and Grade 12, and lessons for the corresponding examinations.
MoEYS has prepared a concept note on the “New Normal in Education” focusing on flexible educational services, geographical decentralisation, the Covid-19 risk situation and available educational resources.
2. Projects for supporting implementation of focused curriculum
All projects shall be reviewed for resource allocation purposes to support teaching and learning in the current academic year in a focused way concerning the implementation of new teaching methods and distance teaching, as well as the production of summary lessons and worksheets.
MoEYS continues to strengthen and expand the implementation of “School-Based Management” among resource schools and satellite schools by preparing realistic and systematic teaching and learning documents.
3. Continuation of teacher training institution reform
MoEYS continues to implement action plans for reforming teacher training institutions, with all teacher training institutions continuing to implement training programmes completely and properly.
This is done by allotting both in-class study and self-study, and by integrating technology, while MoEYS assigns focal points at the technical level to assure clear roles and responsibilities.
4. Higher education curriculum preparation
All higher education institutions shall prepare their curriculum in line with the “New Normal in Education”.
5. Reinforcing digital education
Relevant working groups shall review the “Strategy on Digital Education for 2021”, with MoEYS reinforcing the establishment of more digital rooms at schools.
The ministry is also furthering the establishment of more libraries at schools, with the Techo Hun Sen Library in Phnom Penh regarded as the model.
The ministry aims to develop this model as the standard for school libraries by collaborating with relevant partners, especially requesting additional funds from the Ministry of Economy and Finance to broaden the scope of implementation.
MoEYS has created a working group for reinforcing the establishment of more libraries at schools and the establishment of digital rooms within school libraries.
6. Preparation of support programmes at national level
Leaders and relevant organisations shall arrange monitoring programmes and the implementation of “School-Based Management” commencing from resource schools and satellite schools by providing support and enforcement at the school level, especially regarding the needs of schools and teachers.
Technical departments shall prepare “Annual and Monthly Operational Plans” emphasising the priorities of MoEYS by arranging meetings with responsible leaders to determine priority tasks every month, preparing follow-up meetings – face-to-face or via video conference system – and producing regular reports.
7. Teaching methodology
Relevant working groups shall continue recording teaching methods for broad dissemination, while relevant departments shall assign working groups for developing “Booklets on Summary Lessons by Subjects and Self-study Exercises”.
These are designed to concentrate on the enhancement of knowledge acquired from in-class study and “Supplementary Reading Books” stimulating reading and writing as well as ‘Methodology for Dictation’.
MoEYS continues to hold meetings with other relevant organisations to review summary lesson documents and self-study exercises by benchmarking with Grade 12 summary lessons, while the Department of Curriculum Development and other relevant departments meet to prepare the publishing of the “Manual for Implementing Focused Curriculum”.
The Ministry of Education is establishing more model schools, model classes, model principals and model teachers to further increase motivation and demonstrate new teaching paradigms and strengthen the sharing of best practices.
8. Institutional capacity improvement
MoEYS is developing “Institutional Capacity Improvement Programmes” in education by specifying the criteria for accreditation at ministry level for junior and senior specialists, and focusing on theories and practices in several specialities.
These include teaching methodology (selected from the Department of Curriculum Development, teacher training institutions and new generation schools) and school-based management (selected from projects and schools).
The Department of Policy shall study and support reform programmes to further align policy and implementation.
9. Evidence-based evaluation
The Department of Curriculum Development collaborates with the Department of Education Quality Assurance to study and evaluate curriculum implementation, as well as teaching and learning within Covid-19 contexts.
Meanwhile, the Directorate General of Education shall lead meetings with the Department of Curriculum Development, the National Institute of Education and other relevant entities to identify work priorities for curriculum implementation and teaching methodology.
With these nine priority actions for the academic year – which complement the existing plans and strategies for reforming education, youth and sport, as stated in the ministry’s Education Strategic Plan 2019-2023 – MoEYS continues to strengthen quality learning and respond to the effects of Covid-19.