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The need for our work stems from the horrors of the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s, which systematically destroyed the Cambodian education system, killing a large proportion of its teachers and demolishing schools. The effects are still felt today with only 55% of girls and 52% of boys progressing to secondary school (USAID). What is more, teachers leave teacher training colleges poorly equipped to teach effectively and tend to teach traditionally - ‘by rote’ - which does not promote exploration, or deep understanding of concepts, or student interaction and engagement. Poor quality teaching is the single biggest reason for school drop-out and this is why we focus on improving the quality of teaching in classrooms. Our vision is to empower a generation of Cambodian children through education, recognising that education gives access to a variety of opportunities and provides choices.
The starting point is training teachers so they are equipped to teach children. This year we are working with 471 teachers who collectively teach 13,505 children. Our mission is ‘to provide the best possible start in early grade education through access to quality teaching and learning at school’. Our activities in rural schools include:
The impact of our work on teaching quality and student learning outcomes has been so profound that we have been commissioned by UNESCO (working alongside the Ministry of Education) to prepare a national training package for mentoring and scaling our model to thousands more teachers.