A school support committee member of a primary school in the north-east of Cambodia is reaping the benefits of a series of workshops on multilingual education capacity building.
23-year-old Lem Neuy, a mother with one daughter, has attended workshops organised by CARE Cambodia to understand more about how she can support out of school children in her community to get an education.
She is from the Kroeung ethnic minority, which has a different language and traditions to the majority of Cambodia’s population. Her committee has been taught about the multilingual education program, which was introduced to the school last year, so they can support the school through monitoring student and teacher attendance, following up on why there might be absences, and encouraging parents to send their children to the school by telling them about the importance of the program.
Neuy says she now understands how multilingual education can help students by allowing them to learn in their home language. Multilingual education is a great way to remove barriers to education faced by out of school children whose first language is not the national language.
“Through the workshops, I am able to support the teacher, since I know when she shall use Khmer and Kroeung, respectively. I know about the number of the textbooks used in multilingual education. As a result of meetings on the importance of this for our community, parents have sent all their school-age children to the multilingual education class,” she said.
Neuy has also learned strategies to get parents involved in their children’s learning, serving as a bridge to share information between the school and the community. She works with other school support committee members in many different ways to improve the school environment and school attendance: mapping households in the community; creating a school development plan; collecting statistics on children in the community; making repairs to the school and reading house; and digging a life skills garden around the school.
She says, “Now I have noticed that teachers and students come to school regularly thanks to the pretty surrounding environment and efforts by the committee to pay visits to collect students from their households.”
Neuy hopes that the school support committee and the community become more involved and that better relationships between the school and the community will exist so that more children will be enrolled in the school. She hopes that students from her community will graduate from Grade 12 or continue their study at university so as to preserve their identity, culture and traditions.
The school introduced multilingual education in 2015 under the guidance of Ratanak Kiri Provincial Office of Education, Youth and Sport (RTK-POE) through technical and financial assistance from CARE Cambodia and Aid et Action, respectively, implementing Education For All: An Integrated Approach from the Cambodian Consortium for Out of School Children.