Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday announced that beginning next year the Education Ministry will manage five special schools in Phnom Penh and in the provinces of Siem Reap, Battambang and Kampong Cham.
Mr Hun Sen made the announcement during a visit to special needs children in the capital yesterday at the Krousar Thmey Centre. He said the centre will hand over all management rights to the ministry’s management department in 2019.
“Today the ministry accepts to manage one special needs school, but tomorrow, it will accept other schools,” he said, noting that the move was in response to special needs schools lacking funding. “It does not only involve NGOs, but it also involves foreign aid.”
“So the social and education sectors need to prepare to receive special needs centres – we will handling the management,” he added. “The budget on education, health and social affairs will only get bigger.”
Mr Hun Sen noted that Bun Rany and he will continue to help by providing for special needs children in the future, regardless of the new management scheme.
“So I want to confirm that beginning next year, all children under the ministries will continue to receive aid, same as before,” he said.
He noted that other government officials have agreed to help in some schools outside of Phnom Penh.
Mr Hun Sen noted that Defence Minister Tea Banh will help a school in Siem Reap, Interior Minister Sar Kheng will help in Battambang and Information Minister Khieu Kanharith will help children in Kampong Cham.
Dy Kamboly, an Education Ministry spokesman, said yesterday that a total of five special needs schools will transfer their management rights to the ministry in 2019.
Mr Kamboly said the ministry will work to improve the management of the schools.
“The ministry has already allocated a budget to support the five schools,” he said, adding that the ministry will also strengthen the quality of education special needs children will receive.
Neang Phalla, rector of the National Institute for Special Education, said the transfer of management of the five schools to the ministry could be beneficial to special needs children.
“I think that if these schools were transferred, the government will pay more attention to children in need,” Ms Phalla said. “Everything will stay the same, only management will change.”
However, she noted that a lack of teachers could prove to be problematic in the future.
“We lack about ten teachers for children with disabilities,” Ms Phalla said. “But we have already requested for five more contracted teachers.”