The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and ChildFund Cambodia on Thursday signed an agreement on a pilot project to build the digital learning capacity of 15 rural schools in two districts of Svay Rieng province.
The project will allow remote students to access educational materials offline during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The project will be operated by the primary schools of Grade 1 to 6 in the province’s Romeas Haek and Svay Chrum districts and will last until September 30.
Ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha told The Post on Thursday that his ministry promotes the existing collaboration with ChildFund Cambodia, school management, teachers, and all stakeholders to ensure the success of promoting digital education for rural primary education.
“The promotion of this collaboration is made through the ministry’s Information Technology Department, which will support the pilot project by providing training and technical assistance for turning all resources on the krou.moeys.gov.kh website into offline resources for the target school to be fully able to download learning and teaching resources without internet connection,” he said.
“During the spread of Covid-19, many children in Cambodia’s urban areas have been able to access e-learning facilities amid school closures,” ChildFund Cambodia said in a press release on Thursday. “However, children in remote and rural communities without access to technology have struggled to continue their studies.”
Fifteen rural primary schools will benefit from the installation of three portable plug-and-play servers at each location.
“These will store digital lessons and educational website resources which can be made available offline to students. Child safeguarding measures will be integrated throughout all parts of the online learning curriculum,” the press release said.
ChildFund Cambodia country director Prashant Verma said the project will allow the target schools to access a range of digitally-stored education materials, while also addressing concerns over accessibility to the internet for distance learning.
“This support will not only ensure children can continue learning during the current Covid-19 situation but equip schools for the future.
“We expect the pilot project will galvanise the efforts of the education ministry to give vulnerable children easy access to digital education technologies. This will not only improve their learning outcomes, but fill the education gaps caused by current Covid-19 crisis,” he said.
Verma told The Post on Thursday that the reason why ChildFund started the pilot project in the province is that the province was the place where the organisation first started its development work.
He added that cooperation and partnership with the local government are very strong. ChildFund invests a lot in Svay Rieng, especially in school and education development.
“We will review our pilot project to find out challenges and strategies for improvement and will seek support from big donors to replicate the project to other provinces.
“The project is not just to cope with Covid-19, but also prepares schools for future trends where digital learning will take the lead in education reform. We are happy to work with the ministry on this reform,” Verma said.