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Cambodian second graders behind in reading

Mom Kunthear / Khmer Times Share:
Primary school students in a class. KT/Chor Sokunthea

One third or more of second graders in Cambodia are unable to read, a World Bank report published yesterday said.


The report, titled Growing Smarter: Learning and Equitable Development in East Asia and the Pacific, outlined what needs to be done in order to elevate education in East Asia and the Pacific.

“In Countries such as Cambodia and Timor-Leste, one-third or more of second graders were unable to read a single word on reading tests,” the report said.

The report added that East Asia and the Pacific have seven of the top ten performing education systems in the world, with schools in China and Vietnam showing significant progress.

In the rest of the region, however, up to 60 percent of students are in under-performing schools that fail to equip them with the skills necessary to succeed.

Victoria Kwakwa, World Bank vice president for East Asia and Pacific, said that providing a high-quality education to all children is one of the best ways to grow a strong economy.

“It is also the foundation of a strong economy and the best way to stop and reverse rising inequalities,” she said.

The report urges a focus on four key areas: effective and equity-minded public spending; preparation of students for learning; selection and support of teachers; and the systematic use of assessments to inform instruction.

Ministry of Education spokesperson Ros Solin could not be reached for a comment.

However, Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron previously discovered some staff at state education institutions did not adhere to working hours or teaching hours, which affected curriculum implementation.

Mr Naron said in order to strengthen discipline, measures must be undertaken such as increasing staff supervision.

Oum Chantha, 26, a teacher at Chambork Kuy primary school in Svay Rieng province’s Svay Chrum district, said yesterday that she agreed with the World Bank report.

“It is not only the second graders who cannot read well, but the students at grade six cannot read well either,” she said.

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