The Ministry of Education yesterday launched its national early grade learning programme, Komar Rien Komar Cheh, during an event which saw the attendance of over 200 participants.
Komar Rien Komar Cheh is supported by the USAID, Global Partnership for Education, Unesco, Unicef and the ministry’s NGO partners. The programme was developed through a multi-stakeholder process that draws upon research and evidence about early childhood education.
“Together, we can ensure that every student in Cambodia will be highly skilled and educated,” Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron said at the launch.
The programme is a response to a set of 2010 data collected by the ministry which revealed a low literacy level for about 30 to 40 percent of Cambodian students in Grade 7, leading to a high dropout rate in schools.
He added that about 10 percent of elementary students abandoned their studies, while primary schools recorded a student dropout average of about six percent.
“We studied different experiences and developed a methodology that integrates both visual and textual teaching methods to help students improve their reading and writing skills,” said Mr Chuon Naron.
Komar Rien Komar Cheh includes the distribution of teaching and learning materials for Khmer and Mathematics subjects in the early grades.
Following its launch, it will first be implemented in Grades 1 and 2, while the project for Grade 3 students is currently under development.
The programme is the culmination of several assessments and discussions among partners and stakeholders since 2017, including a yearlong teaching pilot project.
“The one-year pilot project saw the improvement of children’s reading and writing abilities. If the programme is implemented well, we would be able to solve the problem regarding the 30 to 40 percent of Grade 7 students who exhibit poor literacy skills,” Mr Naron.
Approximately 400,000 students in Grades 1 and 2 are projected to benefit from the programme annually once it is implemented across the Kingdom, he said.
Aside from the programme, he also highlighted the significance of parental support and guidance in increasing the literacy level of the students.
“Do parents help their children with their studies? We noticed that not all parents guide their children to read more once they leave school premises. So, I want the parents to encourage additional learning at home. I believe this method would be successfully instilled if all teachers, parents and students work together,” Mr Naron said.
In a press release, the Education Ministry said the Komar Rien Komar Cheh programme includes teacher guides, teaching and learning materials for use in Khmer and Mathematics subjects for Grades 1 and 2 students, which are complementary to the current textbooks.
“All Grades 1 and 2 teachers will receive training and mentorship on the new methods,” the ministry said. “To ensure the overall improved quality of early grade education, the ministry will expand implementation of the Komar Rien Komar Cheh programme in all primary schools across the country and be integrated into teachers’ training at all training institutions.”
Oeur Kesny, a Grade 1 teacher of the Mouk Neak Primary School in Siem Reap, yesterday said her students showed a better grasp of lessons when taught using the programme’s new teaching method.
“I noticed that my students understood the concepts faster. I teach them using the seven basic learning principles of the programme,” Ms Kesny said. “For example, we start with teaching them phonics or the sounds of letters before they are taught how to read and write the words.”
She added the programme is tried and tested and makes significant progress toward the proper education of students.