NGO receives medals for building schools in Ratanakkiri province

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Plan International Cambodia’s country director Gwynneth Wong (right) receives a medal in Ratanakkiri province on Monday. Photo supplied

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport has awarded Plan International Cambodia (PIC) two gold medals and two silver medals for its contributions to the education sector in Ratanakkiri province over the past 10 years, according to a press release on February 23.

The National Construction medals were presented to Plan International Cambodia’s country director Gwynneth Wong and her team by Ratanakkiri provincial governor Thong Savon at an inauguration ceremony for new secondary and primary school buildings and a teacher’s dormitory in the province’s O’Chum district on February 22.

Wong said that recent key achievements by Plan International Cambodia in the province include the construction of nine new school buildings with 43 classrooms equipped with bathroom facilities.

She said the organisation has contributed to improving the quality of education in the country by investing in school infrastructure improvements which have directly benefited over 2,000 students to date and will continue to benefit thousands more in the future.

“We are really proud to be a part of this contribution and to ensure sustainability, we would like to request that the [education ministry] allocate more teachers to poor and remote communities where many students cannot access schooling.

“[Doing so will] strengthen the implementation of the teacher’s code of conduct and improve the [functionality] of the school management committees and school management.

“In everything that we do, we want to ensure that children – especially girls – in the remote areas receive an equal opportunity at quality education and build their brighter future,” Wong said.

Thong Savon thanked the organisation for providing funding to construct school buildings and for contributing to the development of the education sector in Ratanakkiri over the last 10 years.

“This cooperative activity actively contributes to the government’s strenuous efforts to introduce a programme of national reforms – and especially to the deep reforms underway in the education sector – all with the goal of promoting the prosperity of Cambodia,” he said.

He added that although the education ministry had provided as many academic buildings as it could afford in Ratanakkiri, they were not enough to meet the educational needs of students there.

To fill this gap, Savon said the participation of local and international NGOs, development partners and donors is needed.

He said that in the past some students there had encountered difficulties related to a lack of proper facilities and stopped attending school as a result.

The press release said Plan International Cambodia has been working in partnership with the provincial education department and local NGOs to support accelerated classes for learners who were over the traditional age for school attendance as well as re-entry classes for children who had dropped out of school.

According to the release, Plan International Cambodia has been engaged in programmes related to capacity building for teachers on inclusivity and gender teaching methodology, establishing community schools, constructing standardised school buildings with libraries, an annual school enrolment campaign and a recent back to school campaign when the Covid-19 situation eased.

The organisation also has a programme that helps provide transportation for children who live far from their schools as well as cash scholarships and school supplies for marginalizsd children.

Education ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said on February 23 that the ministry welcomed positive cooperation from organisations that can assist with the government’s education reforms.

“Development partners and international organisations including Plan International Cambodia have important roles in promoting [high] quality education and especially in contributing to the development of Ratanakkiri province these past 10 years,” he said.