Touch Buntheoun, a core trainer of multilingual education has been enjoying the benefits of multilingual education program (MLE) over the past years. The project is run by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS), and technically and financially supported by CARE Cambodia and Aide et Action International, respectively.
Touch Buntheoun, aged 44, is a Khmer citizen living in Ban Fang Village, Fang Commune, Veun Sai District, Ratanak Kiri Province. He’s married with one daughter and two sons. Buntheoun has been working in the Office of Education, Youth and Sport in Veun Sai District for the past 24 years. He’s now the Deputy Chief of the District Office of Education, Youth and Sport in charge of primary, secondary education, and planning-statistics. On top of these work, he is also a core trainer in the multilingual education program in Veun Sai District, Ratanak Kiri Province.
Buntheoun said, “Before, I was only a governmental officer working in the Office of Education in Veun Sai District. I was trained on various work by the Ministry of Education, the Provincial Office of Education, and other relevant partners. However, I was not skilled in facilitating workshops especially workshops on multilingual education programs. And I was not confident enough to train other multilingual teachers.”
During the period between 2015 and 2017, I attended five workshops on multilingual education program in the Cambodian Consortium for Out of School Children Project which was organized by CARE Cambodia together with the Ministry and Provincial Office of Education, Youth and Sport. Through these workshops, I became more acquainted with topics related to teaching and learning approaches in multilingual education programs such as: the importance of multilingual education programs, Child Friendly School Policy, how to produce varieties of classroom materials, body language, how to do, make and take notes, how to use questions, and social gender stereotype, etc. These workshops provide excellent strategies for him to train multilingual teachers so that they can have the knowledge, skills and experience in teaching and learning in a multilingual education program.
Buntheoun said, “Because of the training and technical support from staff members of CARE Cambodia in the Cambodian Consortium for Out of School Children Project, I’ve learned many teaching and studying methods, how to prepare a lesson plan, a presentation, and how to make a test for a multilingual education program. They have helped me become more competent, and confident in my ability to train teachers in multilingual education programs in Ratanak Kiri.” On top of training teachers, core trainers also field support visit teachers who are working in multilingual education program once a month to provide support and advice. Visiting teachers in their schools is quite a difficult task because some schools are located very faraway, and the roads are exceptionally hard to travel during the rainy seasons.
Buntheoun added, “The multilingual education program is a good program, and essential for the children of the ethnic minorities who are living in the northeast provinces of Cambodia. This program makes it easier for them to understand, and remember lessons because it’s taught in both Khmer and their native language.
As a representative of multilingual education core trainers in the five districts in Ratanak Kiri, I’ve seen a noticeable progress in the multilingual education program execution in these five districts. The community is satisfied and supportive of the program. Classrooms have more teaching and learning material including basic reading materials for teachers and students. There has been an increase in net enrolment rate and promotion rate while repetition and dropout rates are decrease. I hope there will be more support from relevant partners, Cambodian Consortium for Out of School Children and CARE Cambodia so that the multilingual education program becomes sustainable for the benefits of all ethnic minority children in Ratanak Kiri.