Following an international syllabus gives students a head start should they continue their education abroad
WHILE government schools in Cambodia all follow the national curriculum, most private institutions are offering more choice and flexibility to children to cater for the aspirations of their upwardly mobile parents.
And with rapid growth in the private sector keeping pace with the population boom, the choices available to parents are now myriad.
Cambodia’s population has nearly doubled to 16 million in the past three decades, and official data show there are over 2 million primary school-aged children enrolled in some 7,189 public schools.
As the number of private schools has skyrocketed, so too has the number of curriculums on offer. Parents can now choose to have their children educated under any number of systems, meaning they will already be one step ahead should they choose to study abroad.
Some of the most popular curriculums include those from the USA, Britain, Canada and Singapore.
Ao Vent, the rector and co-founder of Hi-Bridge Primary School, takes a multi-curriculum approach.
“The UK curriculum is at the core of our school,” he said.
“We use the UK curriculum because it helps students score well in maths and science. Students who are strong at maths and science demonstrate they are thinking logically.”
Vent said the UK curriculum was a big selling point for parents, but some wanted even more.
“Hi-Bridge also offers three hours of Chinese language classes per week,” he said. “Many parents have seen the trend of increasing Chinese investment in Cambodia so they want their children to learn Chinese early.”
Any classes taught in the Khmer language still follow the national curriculum.
Cambridge International, another popular private school, follows International Primary Curriculum (IPC) from Britain.
Bou Phannarith, Vice President of the school said the main advantage of the system was to give students an excellent grounding in English – although the school also offers Chinese language classes.
“By introducing students to English very early on can ensure they become very well versed and comfortable communicating with others,” he said.
At Harrods International Academy, teachers there follow a British-Singaporean model of schooling.
“Our curriculum enables our students to develop ‘international mindedness’ that equips them with the knowledge and skills necessary to become global-minded citizens,” said Melissa Close, the school principal.
“Given we are a bilingual school, we also have a great Khmer program that follows the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.”