One of the key areas of focus for CARE’s education programs in Cambodia is multilingual education. This approach recognizes that many children in remote areas come from ethnic minority communities and speak languages other than Khmer, which is the national language of Cambodia. Six more languages have officially been approved recently. By teaching children in their mother tongue in the early years of schooling, they are better able to learn, and are more likely to continue their education beyond primary school.
CARE International in Cambodia plays a critical role in supporting the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MOEYS) in its efforts to improve the quality of education in Cambodia. As a technical advisor, CARE Cambodia provides technical support to the Ministry in the implementation of its policies and programs aimed at enhancing the teaching and learning of mother tongue-based multilingual education. It is important to note that multilingual education is owned by the Ministry and that CARE Cambodia serves as a technical support partner. Through its partnership with the Ministry, CARE Cambodia has been able to contribute to the development of a more inclusive and equitable education system, where students from diverse linguistic backgrounds are able to learn in a language they understand.
Despite these efforts, there are still significant challenges to be addressed in expanding multilingual education in Cambodia. Many schools lack the resources and infrastructure necessary to support effective teaching and learning, and there is a shortage of trained teachers in many remote areas. More training and support are needed for teachers and school directors in remote areas where this education is introduced because they are not familiar with this form of education.
This program builds on the results from the previous two-year program to continue the technical support to achieve three main outputs (i) development of a specialization training course for lecturers at the Regional Teacher Training College (RTTC) in Stung Treng ; (ii) revision of primary Grade 1 textbooks and teacher guides for five Indigenous languages and (iii); schools with at risk and high dropout students where we implement to the Back to Schools Communication for Development (C4E) approach.
CARE Cambodia has been working in partnership with the Special Education Department of the MoEYS in the implementation of Multilingual Education to address the remaining challenges. We support the Ministry to continually improve multilingual education, and that all children in Cambodia will have access to quality education, regardless of their language or background.
This project aims to enhance the capacity of school leaders and teachers to deliver equitable, inclusive, relevant and quality education in several languages in safe learning environments, particularly for Indigenous students.
The key activities of this project are:
- The development of a multilingual teacher training course for the Regional Teacher Training College in Stung Treng. The activity involves reviewing, revising, and developing a technical training package for multilingual teacher training, as well as providing technical support and training for teacher trainers. This includes practicum with multilingual classes and teachers, building and strengthening networking, and introducing the orthography of Indigenous languages to trainers.
- The revision of the existing multilingual curriculum to ensure greater educational and cultural relevance for Indigenous children. It involves reviewing Grade textbooks and teacher guides with a focus on Indigenous knowledge and consulting with Elders and Ministry committees.
- Multilingual schools with at-risk and high dropout students will be implementing the Back to Schools Communication for Development (C4E) adapted approaches. The approach involves conducting a survey, providing training to teachers and community members, and conducting outreach activities. The schools will follow up with students who are irregular in their attendance.