Cambodia

Cambodia

Cambodia is rebuilding its educational system from the ground up after years of upheaval. To aid in this effort, Room to Read Cambodia has led in the field of literacy and girls’ education and works as one of the national government’s primary partners improving Cambodia’s quality of education.

 


Through our literacy and girls’ education programs, Room to Read is working with the Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS), district-level governments and communities, and other education organizations to address — and mitigate — recent learning losses, including poor reading habits and gender inequalities in education. Key components of Room to Read’s programs include:  

 

Improving how children learn to read

In Cambodia, MoEYS has adopted Room to Read’s library model — an approach that includes establishing and maintaining quality, child-friendly libraries and integrating reading activities into the school day — as part of its national education standards. To ensure the successful roll-out of this approach nationwide, Room to Read conducts a wide range of trainings at national and local levels for educators, education officers, Teacher Education Colleges and Provincial Training Centers to learn how to implement the library model in schools. Additionally, Room to Read works directly in a subset of schools to improve literacy curricula for Grades 1, 2 and 3, and provides ongoing coaching to teachers and school librarians on implementing Room to Read’s approach, serving as a best-practice model for other educations to learn from. Through this work, more children are benefiting from improved curriculum, high-quality books, as well as well-trained teachers throughout Cambodia.

Cultivating a robust book publishing sector

Room to Read is significantly increasing the availability of quality, Khmer-language children’s books suitable for different levels of readers. To do so, we are developing and publishing our own collection of children’s books while also training local writers, illustrators and publishers on how to develop children’s books across a wider range of genresthat are engaging, educational and colorful to support children’s interest in reading and learning. 

Combatting harmful gender norms

Through local educators and Room to Read’s Social Mobilizers — educated women from the same communities as program participants — secondary school girls benefit from individualized mentorship, peer-to-peer mentorship and education on life skills for gender equality. Key skills include leadership, resilience and critical thinking, which are demonstrated to help girls navigate challenges and key life decisions, including advocating for themselves and their peers to stay in school and graduate.

In Cambodia, Room to Read is also field testing an innovative adaptation to the life skills curriculum to provide education and safe spaces for boys to learn about gender inequalities and biases. Additionally, in 2023, MoEYS adopted Room to Read’s life skills curriculum for use in all lower secondary schools, marking a pivotal step in rolling out these essential workshops and mentorship opportunities to students throughout the country.
 

Partnering with the government 

Room to Read works at both national and local levels in Cambodia to improve educational standards. At the national level, we are frequently invited to participate in projects or government initiatives to strengthen literacy and life skills curricula, develop guidelines and resources for educators, as well as facilitate capacity-building trainings for government education officers, who cascade best practices to local communities.

At the local level, Room to Read works directly in schools to demonstrate how our literacy and girls’ education programs can be implemented effectively — creating models of best practice that government education officers can support other schools in replicating nationwide. Room to Read now also partners with Teacher Education Colleges to ensure prospective teachers receive quality training before they enter classrooms, which can significantly improve how children learn as more teachers enter classrooms equipped and prepared.
 

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