The Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, expanded their provision of basic education and literacy for people with limited literacy, student drop-outs and factory workers by switching to online learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement released yesterday, the Education Ministry said: “Low-literate individuals and drop-outs can still resume their education via two programmes offered online – the Factory Literacy Programme and Beep Programme.”
UNESCO Education Programme Officer Kimlay Leav said yesterday: “The programmes are different from the primary and kindergarten school curriculums as it is designed to cater to illiterate or low-literate adults. They comprise instruction on soft skills and basic functional literacy skills, as well as education on the fundamental freedoms and legal rights.”
Mr Leav added the Factory Literacy Programme is equal to a sixth-grade education while the Beep Programme is equivalent to early secondary education. After finishing the courses, students will receive certification proving their aptitude to study in higher institutions.
The basic education and literacy programmes will begin broadcasting online from June 1 via the Ministry of Education’s official website and e-Learning platforms.
“Owing to the spread of COVID-19, we have committed to producing online learning programmes, which could be easily accessed through the Ministry of Education’s official pages, whether on Facebook, YouTube or Beep and other e-Learning websites,” said Mr Leav.
He added: “These two programmes are free of charge. As such, interested learners – especially women and young girls working in factories can resume their studies normally.”
A 2013 report by the Ministry of Planning on Women and Migration in Cambodia revealed 85 percent of the 605,000 garment and footwear factory workers were women, of whom 14 percent were illiterate while 29 percent demonstrated low levels of literacy. Mr Leav said: “Since the implementation of the Factory Literacy Programme in 2016, 1,300 learners [95 percent of whom are females] have completed the programme. Of them, 47 learners have prepared to become teachers, with 25 of them being women.”
As people have limited time and space, the programmes are designed in such a way that people can learn and watch the courses at any time of the day for any length of time.
According to UNESCO, the programmes were introduced in 25 factories in Cambodia, with most of these factories having literacy programmes at lunchtime for workers. This approach, of responding to the needs of learners, is consistent with mainstreaming gender approaches endorsed by UNESCO.