About 200 primary and high school students in Siem Reap province have received cultural heritage training from Apsara Authority.
The training was given to students of Srah Srang Primary School and Nokor Thom High School through an eight-month programme that began in January. The training aimed to teach students who live in historical areas about their own cultural heritage.
Im Sokrithy, deputy director of the authority’s Angkor International Centre for Research and Documentary, yesterday said the programme was divided between primary and high school students.
He said primary school students learned about basic concepts, including religious roots and identifying tangible and intangible heritage.
“We did not only teach them inside a class, but we also brought them to temples and museums to explain the history of each temple and sculpture,” Mr Sokrithy said.
He added that high school students were taught a general introduction to archaeology, anthropology, as well as research methods.
“After being trained, students can do their own research on cultural heritage and compile it and share it with other people in their communities,” he said. “It is absolutely useful that the people who live in historical areas are well educated about their cultural heritage so that the heritage can be preserved.”
Mr Sokrithy added that the training programme rides on the success of an ongoing research into the history of transportation in the Angkor period, which started in 2005 and is carried out in cooperation with Thai archaeologists.
“The training programme began two years after the research started, which explored Cambodia and Thailand,” he said.
He added that the training is given to Khmer students, as well as Thai students who live near the border.
Mr Sokrithy said that in 2010, the training was given to students living nearby Banteay Meanchey province’s Banteay Chhmar temple and Kampong Thom province’s Sambor Prei Kuk temple.
“After seeing successful results, we continued to train students living nearby Angkor areas, starting with Srah Srang Primary School [last year],” he said, adding that it was the second time the primary school received the training.
He noted that students of Bakong primary school also received the training earlier this year.
Mr Sokrithy said Apsara Authority is cooperating with the Ministry of Education’s Department of Education and the National Youth Centre to make the training programme more widely available.
He added that Apsara researchers have also trained about 20 staff to continue the training programme.
“The overall result can be estimated only after the Ministry of Education can spread the training program to all schools in the Kingdom,” Mr Sokrithy said.