Primary schools in Mondul Kiri have witnessed an increase in educational performance over the past year since students’ mother tongue language was introduced as the medium of instruction at the schools through a multilingual education program (MLE).
23 Nhoeun Sokroeun is Phnong, one of 24 ethno-linguistic minority groups in Cambodia. She is 24 years old, and has six siblings and five-years of experience teaching at Pu Chou Primary School in Ou Reang District, Mondul Kiri.
She has noticed her students’ active participation improves since CARE Cambodia and the Cambodian government, together with other NGOs through the Cambodian Consortium for Out of School Children, have been working to improve education outcomes.
“My students are very active. They solve [math] problems on the chalkboard.They write letters in their vernacular language. They ask me questions,” she said, reasoning that they understand the languages and are confident and that there are many textbooks of colourful and attractive illustrations in the MLE program.
Her remarks were echoed by 30-year-old Sraem Chaunh, an indigenous Phnong state school teacher, who has two sons and has been teaching for six years at Raya Leu Primary School in Kaoh Nheaek District, Mondul Kiri.
“My students come to school regularly and pay their attention in school,” he said, reasoning that teaching his students in their first language makes them understand lessons easily and the program has engaging learning games.Both primary schools mentioned above report there has been a drop in repetition rates and an increase in promotion rates compared to those recorded in previous academic years before MLE was introduced into the schools.
“The repetition rate sees a decrease to around 0.28 percent in 2015-2016 from 0.56 percent in 2013-2014, and the promotion rate increases to around 1.6 percent in 2015-2016 from 1.4 in 2013-2014,” Nhoeun Sokroeun said.
Her words were reiterated by Sraem Chaunh, who said: “The repetition rate drops very sharply to zero percent in 2015-2016 from around 50 percent in 2014-2015, and the promotion rate ups to 100 percent in 2015-2016 from around 50 percent in 2014-2015.” (These figures are only for MLE classes).
Both primary schools expressed optimism about their students’ future education and MLE.She said: “I hope that my students will be entering higher education institutions, [especially] bachelor level education.”He said: “Multilingual education program will be expanded, for communities, PoE and DoEs continue giving their support [to the program].”
This project has provided 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.