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Project profile

Education for Ethnic Minorities

Building on CARE’s successful multilingual education program, Education for Ethnic Minorities moves towards improving the quality of secondary schools enrolling significant numbers of ethnic minority students. Communities in Cambodia’s northeast provinces of Ratanak Kiri and Mondul Kiri face deep poverty, chronic food shortages and geographic isolation. Many of this region’s 150,000 Indigenous population have no or limited command of the national language, Khmer and are thus excluded from the mainstream economy and subject to exploitation and human rights violation.  This situation contributes to low enrolment and retention rates of ethnic minority students in Ratanak Kiri and Mondul Kiri—some of the lowest in Cambodia.


CARE is a globally recognised leader in the field of education for girls and in developing girls’ leadership. CARE Cambodia has been actively advocating for and working with communities to provide multi-lingual education in Cambodia’s northeast since 2002, with considerable success.  Between 2008/09 and 2016/17 girls’ enrolment in multi-lingual education has increased by 654% from 803 enrolments to 2,683.


This approach has since been formalised by the Cambodian Government, scaled to other geographic areas and provides equal access to education for ethnic minority children in a language they can understand.  To conclude this successful, long-term program, the Australian Government through ANCP will provide a concluding two years of support, which CARE will use to provide a technical advisory role to the Government.  This initiative will promote ownership by the Ministry to further institutionalise and expand multi-lingual education in Cambodia. 

This two-year project will focus on completing hand-over of multilingual education to the Ministry of Education through the Special Education Department. Secondly, it will focus on improving the quality of local secondary schools with high populations of indigenous students to provide equal employment opportunities.



To improve access to secondary education which promotes cultural diversity and advances education for girls.


Key activities

Project activities include:

  • Provide technical assistance to the MoEYS in their efforts to develop a second MENAP (2019-2021) and this initiative will be complimented with three national workshops and a study tour, which brings together MLE experts and SED officials to strengthen their understanding of MLE and its theoretical approach 

  • Developing culturally appropriate teaching and learning materials to promote inclusive education

  • Strengthening the capacity of the education authorities to make secondary schools more responsive to the needs of a culturally diverse student body, through training and support visits in schools

  • Improving the quality of teaching and learning in secondary schools for all students, especially for ethnic minority girls, through training and support visits

  • Supporting primary education to increase access to secondary education, through orientation of graduates from primary schools, life skills training, visits to the secondary schools

  • Training of trainers to the district training and monitoring team

  • Providing scholarships to lower secondary school and high school students

  • A refined and a rollout on sexual harassment program to 50 secondary schools across Year 1 targeted provinces, including 13 lower and upper secondary schools in Ratana Kiri

  • An induction workshop with the 6 regional teacher training centres and short evaluation exercise before funding is sought for sexual harassment program.


July 2017 – June 2019



North East of Cambodia


  • Six Provincial and District Offices of Education

  • 29 secondary schools

  • 522 teachers

  • 170 school support committee members

  • 14188 indigenous students

  • Indigenous communities

Project partners


Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport

Photo credits: CARE/Erika Pineros

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