Low pay and a lack of access to gain basic skills might deter young graduates from becoming teachers, but ChildFund Cambodia has contributed to tackling the issue through the execution of a programme aimed at training prospective teachers in rural areas.
The non-profit organisation said that it has been implementing its “Easy2Learn” project in areas facing a severe shortage of teachers so that it can “train the best and brightest young adults to become community teachers”.
The organisation has established resources, personnel and connections with the communities, said ChildFund Cambodia, which is the representative office of ChildFund Australia.
“Since ChildFund has already been working in these areas, it was easier to identify the prospective community teachers. We provided a basic allowance and led vital training that allows 45 young men and women to gain teaching experience,” it said.
At the end of the programme, ChildFund said, young teacher hopefuls were encouraged to take the entrance exam to attend a two-year state-led course that will lead to their qualification to become a state-qualified teacher.
All of the selected candidates, who each had been provided with a $600 allowance to cover their basic expenses during the training, had passed and were accepted to pursue further teaching education, it said.
“ChildFund’s support has significantly helped alleviate the initial financial obstacles that might have deterred an individual from pursuing the necessary training to become a government certificated teacher,” it said.
The organisation underscored: “ChildFund Cambodia believes investing in young teachers is a sustainable method of ensuring quality education that is available for every child in the Kingdom.
“The 45 young, talented and qualified teachers are now working in remote schools throughout the country and fully supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.”
Speaking to The Post on Sunday, ChildFund Cambodia director Prashant Verma said the government had to place emphasis on more female teachers in the early years as part of its commitment to the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs).
“Furthermore, the state should put the conditions for private schools to share their profits and/or accommodate 15 per cent of children from poor families for free as a model for equality and ways of implementing corporate social responsibility,” Verma said.
He continued that the guidelines for putting the government’s commitment on the policies and SDGs had to be ready by now and be used as a stepping level to assess the gaps and opportunities to strengthen the capacity of teachers.
Ouk Chhayavy, the president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, argued that “teachers would not take up second or third jobs to supplement their income if they are paid well”.
Only a few teachers are available in the rural area or primary schools because many of them have moved to the higher-grade school and to the urban areas due to better pay, Chhayavy told The Post.
She suggested that the state “ought to pay greater attention to the rural teachers, including guaranteeing their safety, in order to make their lives easier”.
Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport spokesman Ros Soveacha said the ministry had laid out policies to enhance the quality of teachers through their qualifications and the needs at all levels of classes.
“For five years to come, at the nationwide level, we will raise the teachers’ living standards and quality in an effort to respond to challenges to provide all teachers with opportunities for career growth,” he said.