Plan International Cambodia (PIC) is set to construct six more educational facilities in Stung Treng province. This initiative follows their effort over the past two years, having already established 11 schools in both Stung Treng and Ratanakkiri provinces.

PIC’s recent report reveals that their projects have successfully enabled over 2,000 children, aged 3 to 6, to join community preschools. Additionally, close to 1,000 children, aged 5 to 6, have embarked on their first-grade education.

Working alongside Kampuchea Action to Promote Education, Sovann Phoum Organisation and local education departments, PIC’s projects have strengthened educational capabilities by constructing 11 buildings covering primary to high school levels.

“These school sites include water supply systems, toilets, football and basketball facilities. We also supplied toilets to 22 primary school buildings and constructed 70 kitchens, 20 wood-burning stoves, and six water tanks for schools in the mentioned provinces,” said the report.

Yi Kimthan, PIC deputy country director for programmes, told The Post that these supplementary structures are crucial.

The schools previously lacked the necessary infrastructure and study buildings to elevate the standard of education.

Kimthan also emphasised that the infrastructural developments, establishment of schools, and provisions for clean drinking water and sanitation have significantly boosted the quality of inclusive education.

This is particularly true for remote regions inhabited by ethnic minority groups who previously had limited access to education.

“We constructed study buildings in Mondulkiri and Ratanakkiri provinces, recognising the shortage of schools in these areas,” Kimthan explained. “Given the rise in student numbers, we saw the need and responded. The increase in school enrolments is evident.”

Looking ahead, Kimthan shared that PIC aims to build six more academic buildings in Stung Treng over the next three years. Additionally, approximately 60 toilets will be added to further convenience students.

“Previously, many primary school students had to walk distances of over 10km, with some even covering over 30km to reach secondary schools. This led to students renting accommodation closer to their campuses, exacerbating dropout rates. Constructing schools in proximity has reversed this trend,” he recalled.

Ros Soveacha, spokesperson for the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, praised the collaborative efforts in enhancing the nation’s educational landscape, saying development partners have been instrumental in advancing the quality of education.

“We appreciate the collaborative efforts of various stakeholders in realising the youth development policy and programmes in line with our 2019-23 educational strategy,” he said.

“The ultimate goal is to enrich the quality of our youth, enabling them to actively contribute to Cambodia’s economic progress,” he added.