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SCIA:The pioneer of Cambodia’s holistic education

Grade 8 and Grade 9 SCIA students posing in front of their proud accomplishment: a toilet for the local village

As one of the Kingdom’s most renowned private education providers, Singapore (Cambodia) International Academy (SCIA)’s approach to corporate social responsibility (CSR) is based on providing holistic education to its students. SCIA is an academy that offers pre-school to pre-university education programmes.

Ms Ng Bee Sun, principal of SCIA Foundation Studies Centre and Primary School, commented that the academy is constantly looking for ways to enhance its service learning programmes that would further benefit both the students and the community

Citing an example, Ms Ng described one of the most recent projects involving a group of Grade 8 and Grade 9 High School students who travelled to Prey Veng province to help build eight toilets for the villagers there. Proper sanitation is one of the areas that the villagers need for improvement in their lives.

“We want to inculcate this sense of shared social responsibility in our own students,” said Ms Ng. “In close collaboration with a non-profit organisation (NGO), Love Cambodia, we brought the students to the province to help construct eight outdoor toilets for eight homes that did not have this facility.”

Ms Ivy Toh assisting a local student in graphic design at the “Artist” career station

“As each toilet costs USD190, the students had to apply their knowledge in entrepreneurship by raising funds via SCIA Marketplace Fiesta, a student-led mini carnival held at the school. They conceptualised and set up their booths, and sold a variety of items including food, beverages and arts & crafts to raise funds for this project. It was a meaningful and memorable experience.  The NGO praised the students for their positive spirit in performing this community service,” she said.

Ms Ng added the project was also an opportunity for knowledge and skills transfer between SCIA students and the villagers. “Service Learning has to be a two-way process. There’s always giving and receiving. On our side, the students crafted their own lesson plans to teach English to the children at the village. In return, the villagers taught our students a hands-on approach to daily tasks at the village, such as making palm sugar.  Students did a reflection on the experiences and their learning from this programme.”

Ms Ng Bee Sun assisting a local student in designing a logo for the mini café at the café career station

In close collaboration with two local NGOs, SCIA also hosted a morning of fun and learning to 80 local students from the province on 21 June 2019. With support from partners and staff, the local students were treated to games from different stations, lunch, goodie bags, educational kits and gifts.

Ms Ivy Toh, Associate Director of SCIA Early Childhood Education Division and School Director’s Office said the event was adapted from a concept similar to KidZania, an educational entertainment centre which allows children to role-play and explore various careers. SCIA executed the KidZania concept for their open house earlier this year and had proved to be well-received by both parents and children. “We wish to create an experience that is unique and different from the usual learning methods. Through these activities, students get to experience different careers such as an artist, a dentist, a scuba diver and many others. This time, we organised this event to help local children who might not have the same exposure otherwise.”

Ms Ng remarked one of the other reasons behind the career-related event is to help connect the dots for the children, in relation to their prospective profession of choice. “We also want to provide them with educational guidance. If they are interested in a career, we would furnish them with the knowledge of what needs to be done, what subjects to undertake so they can achieve that desired goal. We believe in preparing students to be future-ready.”

Ms Ng concluded that having a good CSR framework would bode well for the academy, especially in terms of being the first international school of choice. “This ties back to SCIA’s “Doing Well and Doing Good” philosophy. Whenever there are opportunities, we want to contribute to the society. In addition to academics, we want our students to get in touch with their sense of empathy and be socially-responsible citizens. We want each SCIA student not only study for their benefit but also create a positive impact to the world around them, thus fulfilling SCIA’s vision of becoming inspiring leaders for the global age.”

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