The EU recently donated €2 million ($2.3 million) to the Cambodian government in an effort to assist the country in the reopening of its schools. The donation supports ongoing efforts of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, the EU and UNICEF to protect and educate children amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to a joint press release, a ministry delegation, the EU ambassador to Cambodia, and the UNICEF Representative visited Siem Reap province to evaluate the situation as the country reopens its schools.
Education minister Hang Chuon Naron welcomed the additional support from the EU.
“This support will enable us to ensure children have continued opportunities to learn, despite the challenges created by Covid-19,” Chuon Naron was quoted as saying in the press release.
“The support for safe school reopening from the EU and other Capacity Development Partnership Fund partners will go a long way towards giving confidence to communities in that students can now return to safe and supportive learning environments,” said Chuon Naron.
Carmen Moreno, the EU ambassador to Cambodia, said education is a basic human right and a key building block for Cambodia’s development. All over the world, Covid-19 is causing disruptions to educational opportunities for children and this could become an obstacle to the world’s recovery.
“For more than 15 years, the European Union has been a strong partner of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, and we are proud to support them on their programme for a safe reopening of schools [in Cambodia],” Moreno was quoted as saying in the press release.
“As part of our Covid-19 support and recovery program, we will also contribute to increasing the number of scholarships [available] to children and [assist] most vulnerable families who have been hit the hardest by the crisis,” she said.
UNICEF Representative in Cambodia Foroogh Foyozat said any crisis also brings about opportunities to rethink and rebuild better. It is important that the Covid-19 response serves as a catalyst to make schools even better than before so that they become more inclusive and resilient.
“This can be materialised through unified efforts of development partners and strong leadership of the government,” Foyozat said.
The joint press release also added that the EU is working with UNICEF and the education ministry to enhance scholarship programmes in the country.
The three institutions also advised children, parents and school staffs to make schools safe by following Covid-19 prevention protocols. They pledged to continue supporting Cambodian schools into 2021.