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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.  In the last 5 years, girl enrolment in primary education has increased two-fold from 627 in the academic year 2013/14 to 953 in the academic year 2017/18, which boy enrolment has increased only 38% in the same timeframe.


This approach has been formalised by the Cambodian Government, scaled to other geographic areas and provides equal access to inclusive and equitable quality 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 support of one final year, 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 final year of the project will focus on strengthening the institutionalization of government ownership through Special Education Department of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport. The support will also extend to include an inter-departmental capacity building of relevant technical departments and an establishment of a teacher training system at a regional level to provide pre-service and in-service training to indigenous teacher and trainees.



In partnership with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and ethnic minority communities, to improve access to relevant, inclusive and equitable quality education which promotes cultural diversity and advances education for girls, especially among the ethnic minority groups.


Key activities

Project activities include:

  • Providing technical assistance to the MoEYS in their efforts to develop a second phase of Multilingual Education National Action Plan 2019-2023. This initiative will be complimented with four consultative workshop at national and sub-national level, which brings together MLE experts and SED official to strengthen their understanding of MLE and its theoretical approach


  • Providing technical assistance to the MoEYS in their efforts to establish a MLE teacher training system in Stung Treng Regional Teacher Training Centre to provide pre-service and in-service training to indigenous teacher and trainees through a series of bilateral meetings with Stung Treng RTTC and a consultative workshop with relevant stakeholders as an initial stage


  • Providing technical assistance to the MoEYS in their efforts to review the existing teacher training manuals and revitalize the teacher training curriculum to integrate these manuals

  • Strengthening the capacity of the education authorities to deliver a mother-tongue based MLE as a right-based approach to Sustainable Development Goal on Quality Education (SDG4) and promotion of global citizenship through a tailor-made training programs designed for specific purposes


  • Leveraging continuous evidence-based advocacy through partnership building with various institutions, including the Education Research Council, Royal Academy of Cambodia, and Cambodia Indigenous People Alliance.



July 2019 – June 2020



North East of Cambodia


  • 5 North-east provinces

  • 94 MLE preschools

  • 80 MLE primary schools

  • 20 Indigenous representatives from the Cambodia Indigenous People Alliance

  • 6,700 (3,188 women/girls) direct beneficiaries, including indigenous students and teachers

  • 825,066 (415,757 men/boys) indirect beneficiaries, including School Support Committees and Indigenous communities.

Project partners


  • Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport

Photo credits: CARE/Erika Pineros

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