Cambodia celebrated the International Literacy Day Under the theme of “Literacy is the foundation of Lifelong Learning”

Over 200 participants from technical departments of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS), concerned Ministries, development partners, NGOs, local authorities and literacy teachers have joined the online celebration of International Literacy Day on 8 September 2021. This year, the international theme is “Literacy for a human-centered recovery: narrowing the digital divide”, aiming to leverage the potential of literacy and digital skills to building a solid foundation for a human-centred recovery, including through inclusive and meaningful technology-enabled literacy learning programmes. In Cambodia, the MoEYS has decided to highlight the important link between Literacy and Lifelong learning with the national theme - “Literacy is the foundation of Lifelong learning”.

Mr. Sardar Umar Alam, UNESCO Representative to Cambodia, commended Cambodia for quickly embracing and adapting to diverse solutions for digital learning. Where face-to-face teaching and learning was restricted, the MoEYS deployed distance learning supported by high, low-tech and no-tech solutions, and hybrid learning that combined face-to-face and distance learning have also been adopted. Mr. Alam appreciated the inclusive vaccination programme of Cambodia, which has covered around 70% of its population in a short period. He further commended the school reopening decision of the MoEYS with specific guidelines being put in place, noting that these measures will further enhance the resilience of the education delivery of the Ministry for all levels, and enable all children and learners to return to schools and learn in a supportive environment.

H.E Dr. Hang Choun Naron, Minister of Education, Youth and Sport, reading a statement by Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, “All ministries, institutions, learning centres and pagodas must create educational programmes and lifelong learning programmes for literacy and vocational training. In addition, all managers of factories, enterprises and private companies are encouraged to provide literacy classes for their employees combined with vocational training for the benefit of their employees and factories”.  In his speech, H.E. Dr Hang Choun Naron, noted that, this year the MoEYS has collaborated with its partners to implement literacy programmes and other programmes in the Non-Formal Education (NFE) sector.

The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted the learning of children, young people and adults at an unprecedented scale. The rapid shift to distance learning also highlighted the persistent digital divide in terms of connectivity, infrastructure, and the ability to engage with technology, as well as disparities in other services such as access to electricity, which has limited learning options.

UNESCO has been working closely with MoEYS in providing technical assistance for the development and implementation of the National Policy on Lifelong Learning, and the implementation of the joint flagship programmes - the Basic Education Equivalency Programme -BEEP and the Factory Literacy Programme - FLP. These programmes have provided flexible learning opportunities to thousands of beneficiaries with strengthened literacy skills and have empowered girls and women to better understand their fundamental rights.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, UNESCO has supported the MoEYS in developing digital platforms and producing learning materials and videos with high-quality content for students and literacy learners, to ensure the continuity of learning. UNESCO will continue to support the MoEYS in strengthening the NFE sector in Cambodia by providing further assistance in the development of quality learning content, training of NFE teachers, and the design of new innovative projects to attract more investment and funding for the NEF sector, including through mobilising public-private partnerships.

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