Towards the construction of the first 10 pre-schools in Cambodia

By 29 March 2021May 4th, 2021News, Newsletters

Despite the hazards of Covid-19, our team in Cambodia is mobilized to move forward with our project to support 100 community pre-schools. The call for tenders from companies has been launched for the construction of the first schools. We are looking solutions to deal with the temporary ban on gatherings in the country and to conduct training workshops with the local authorities.

Of the 100 pre-schools identified that we support until 2022 to bring them to the standards required by the Cambodian State, 20 of them need to be fully built (10 will be built by Planète Enfants & Développement, the other 10 by our partner Bandos Komar). The call for tenders is now open to local contractors for the construction of 10 priority schools between April and June, in the provinces of Kampot, Kampong Speu, Sihanouk Ville and Pursat.

In order to obtain the standardization of the state, the school must provide a building dedicated to the schooling of children and meet 33 criteria. Among these criteria, the building must conform to the architectural plan of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. This includes indoor and outdoor playgrounds, adapted furniture, toilets and an access to drink water.

The standardisation of community schools by the state is a major challenge for their quality and longevity. Since the decentralisation, the communes manage these schools. The State encourages this alternative model because it is easier to establish and more cost-effective, but not all communes have the means and skills to ensure the proper management of their school(s). A school with State standardisation, for example, provides a salary for teachers of $165/month, compared to the current $50-100.

With this project, Planète Enfants & Développement and Bandos Komar must lead and accompany the communal councils in the management of their school(s). We plan to organize soon workshops that will bring together the different political figures concerned by the development of Early Childhood in the country: the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Interior, the authorities concerned at different levels of Provinces and Districts, but also and especially the local authorities and village chiefs. The goal is to remind or present the applicable legal and social framework, to discuss the school improvement plan in order to reach the required standards, but also to have a conversation about how to mobilize local funding to ensure good school management.

We are currently working hard to ensure this vital exchange in a new period of restriction since 20 February 2021, linked to new positive cases of Covid-19. All schools in the country have been closed since the beginning of the week. We are afraid with the pandemic, more and more children from the poorest families would never return to school. More than ever, we need to show them that we are with them.

This project follows 30 years of studies and experience of Planète Enfants & Développement in the field of Early Childhood in Cambodia. It aims to reduce inequalities between rural and urban children in access to quality pre-primary education, but also to recognize the role of women, by offering them economic and political opportunities.

To achieve this, PE&D and Bandos Komar will support and train teachers, commune councils and local authorities in 100 villages in the provinces of Kampot, Kampong Speu, Sihanouk Ville and Pursat. The target is to improve the management of schools and meet the quality standards required by the State, offer awareness-raising sessions for parents, and support the economic opportunities of women who have been freed from childcare… With this project, 2,300 children aged 3 to 6 years old will be given the chance to start their schooling under good conditions.

March 24th