MoEYS and UNESCO Re-affirm Teachers’ Role in Transforming Education on World Teachers’ Day

Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS) and UNESCO have re-affirmed the key role played by teachers in transforming education, on the occasion of the World Teachers’ Day (Oct. 5).

According to a joint press release issued yesterday, for more than two years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers in Cambodia and globally have been at the forefront to support students to continue learning and recover lost learning. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all of us to adapt in many areas of life. Teachers in Cambodia has to quickly learn new skills and adapt their teaching methods to support continuity of learning as the situation changed. Due to school closures, many teachers have learned digital skills to move teaching and learning from a traditional classroom setting to online and hybrid learning environments. As the world emerges from the pandemic, continued support for teachers in Cambodia is more urgent than ever to support the recovery of the education system from the impact of the pandemic, and importantly to transform education for the future of Cambodia.

On Oct. 5, 2022, the MoEYS and UNESCO are orgainsing a national World Teachers’ Day event at the Phnom Penh Teacher Education College (PTEC) under this year’s national theme of “Our Teacher, Our Future, Our Country” to celebrate the instrumental role of teachers in educating the next generations of Cambodians who will be shaping the future of the country. The event will be chaired by H.E. Dr. Hang Chuon Naron and attended by 200 participants including teachers, school principals and development partners.

Over the past decade, Cambodia has experienced rapid economic growth, as the country continues to make progress towards achieving its ambitions to become a middle-income country by 2030. At the same time, technological changes, climate emergencies, health crises and conflicts have emerged globally that require a reimagining of a more peaceful and sustainable future. To ensure that learners develop the knowledge and competencies required for the future of Cambodia and the world, they cannot be taught the same way as in the past. However, to transform the education system, teachers in Cambodia must be equipped with the knowledge and skills and supported with the required resources and tools to help learners reach their full potential.

H.E. Dr. Hang Chuon Naron emphasises that teacher reform remains a key priority for Cambodia. “The reform of teacher education and the implementation of teacher policy constitute one of the top priorities of the education reform, as teachers are the backbone of the education system. This reform also aims to further promote the respect and the values of teachers in the Cambodian society”.

At the recently concluded Transforming Education Summit led by the UN Secretary-General, UN member states – including Cambodia – have affirmed that teachers should be empowered to innovate and transform teaching. To relies this, the teaching workforce must be qualified, professionalised, trained, adequately paid and supported. Teachers need to have access to quality initial teacher education, continuous professional development (CPD), and opportunities to upgrade and update their teaching and digital skills. At the Summit, H.E. Minister presented Cambodia’s National Statement of Commitment, re-affirming teacher development as key priority reform, “through preservice training, in-service training and continuous professional development to improve content knowledge, pedagogy and teaching methods, and the use of technology”.

In Cambodia, the MoEYS and UNESCO, with support from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), have been supporting teacher development since 2018 to improve the quality of primary education through the US$14.4 million Strengthening Teacher Education Programmes in Cambodia (STEPCam), one the largest teacher development programmes in Cambodia. Through STEPCam, a national CPD system has been developed to provide teachers and education personnel with access to needs-based training courses to support the professionalisation of teaching force. Around 7,000 early grade teachers have received mentoring support and training to improve student learning outcomes in early grade Mathematics and Khmer. To ensure quality initial teacher education for new generations of primary school teachers, STEPCam has supported the upgrading of teacher educators’ qualifications to a Bachelor of Education level and completed a US$3.4 million renovation project to improve infrastructure at 11 teacher training centres. In total, over 230,000 early grade students in Cambodia have benefitted from STEPCam’s support.

In his video message at the World Teachers’ Day event, Mr. Sardar Umar Alam, UNESCO Representative in Cambodia, welcomed the Kingdom’s continued support to its teachers and thanked all teachers in Cambodia for their contribution to supporting the country’s development. “In UNESCO’s support to Cambodia’s education system, teachers are at the heart of the education reform because we believe that transforming education begins with teachers. We are very delighted that Cambodia is prioritising teacher development in its reform agenda and UNESCO will continue to support the MoEYS to develop a quality teaching force for the future of Cambodia.”

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press