Sipar and Can Sports Shoes Co. Ltd jointly launched a new library equipped with a vocational orientation corner at Kraing Sramo High School on Tuesday this week, to promote reading to students in Kampong Chhnang. Educational and literary books, as well as magazines, newspapers and other reading materials are made available to every student.
According to Sipar and Can Sports Shoes, many students outside the capital do not know what majors they can take when they go to universities because of the lack of relevant information. In fact, some tudents in Kraing Sramo can only name four professions that they think they can pursue in the future – teacher, physician, policeman and accountant. Students don’t know that there are more jobs and careers they can take if they want to.
Hok Sothi, director of Sipar, said that with the new library, various activities have been planned and will hopefully guide students in choosing their jobs and appropriate majors for higher education.
“This will help students after they finish Grade 12. They will be able to find majors and universities that suit their skills and passion because the country has so many opportunities for them,” Sothi said, noting that the high school has more than 1100 students.
“If they get to read newspapers and magazines, they will see a better world. They will know more.”
Sipar and Can Sports Shoes Co. Ltd, a factory that employs about 10,000 workers, have been solid partners in promoting reading in different provinces. Sothi added that they also created a reading programme for garment workers through the Library Learning Center inside the factory.
“And Sipar libraries have been put up not just in factories and schools. We also have in prisons and a mobile library for remote communities. Currently, we have 400 libraries across the country. We believe that students don’t read books because nobody encourages them and they don’t really have the resources. But with Sipar libraries, they now have ways to read and learn.”
Mr Sim Brim, the provincial director for education, youth and sports, said that Sipar’s programmes are very helpful for students as they discover more about themselves and about the world.
“We have libraries in some schools but most of them do not really fit with the standard. But with Sipar, we now have quality books for the students. This is helpful especially because students are looking for good paths towards their future. We always promote reading among our students,” shared Mr Brim during the opening of the library on Tuesday.
Mr Brim added, “Some students left school to work because their families are very poor, maybe around 17 percent of our high school students. We also noted that most of the students who left school are girls.
“We discussed some ways to help them. We can give more scholarships, build standard bathrooms, and more, etc.”
Aside from the students and teachers of Kraing Sramo High School, representatives from GMAC/CGTI, Office of Labour and Vocational Training and local government officials also celebrated the opening of Sipar library.
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Sipar is a French NGO created in 1982 to welcome Cambodian refugees in France. Sipar’s first actions in the field were teaching French in refugee camps in Thailand and training in sites on the Khmer-Thai border.
Sipar arrived in Cambodia in 1992. After 20 years of war, the country was worn out. Everything related to knowledge had disappeared, the educational system needed to be re-built.
For more than two de-cades, Sipar has been working in the field with institutions and communities and has concentrated its activity on developing reading, education through the accessibility of books and the fight against illiteracy.
So far, Sipar has built hundreds of libraries in schools, prisons and garment factories across the country.