Remoteness does not handicap Sre Kvav lower secondary school from doing its best to secure child friendly space, thus providing quality service to promote the future of Cambodia - thanks to the school governance tool it's applying.
Like the rest of the students, eight grader Chanry is enjoying her school's enabling environment, ranging from functioning students council, convenient library, first-aid and sanitation facilities, sports club, to vegetable gardening activities - those that make them want to come to class.
"The dropout rate declines since we started using the school governance tool two years ago. The tool enables school principal, teachers, students and community representatives to assess school performance, identify student's needs and draw up actions to address the need collectively," says the school principal, Mr. Hon Bun Heap.
The school governance tool, according to the official in charge of the tool implementation Mr. Sy Sony, offers a unique policy opportunity for the implementation of the Child Friendly School Policy of the Royal Government of Cambodia - bringing it to another level that promote the bottom-up process of issue identification.
Gender sensitive is one of the key elements of the tool. "Boys and girls met separately to determine our problems before we come together to prioritize them. Then we share the priority problems to school principal, teachers as well as the authorities to discuss solution," says Chanry.
Teacher and girls councilor Ms. Khav Sino gives an example of the solution derives from the tool that, students especially girls used to go home and stop studying because of their menstruation. They felt shy and did not speak about it. Through the tool, girls raised it as an issue, so the school activated counselling session on sexual and reproductive health.
"Before the sports club and vegetable garden did not function. Nothing very interesting at school. Now we have many things to learn and enjoy with friends. And we love our school. I will miss it badly when going to the higher secondary school," says a ninth grader Thorng.
The school governance tool has been tested through a Programme Partnership Agreement in 28 lower-secondary schools in Siem Reap, Kampong Cham and Thbong Khmum provinces since 2013.
The case of Sre Kvav lower secondary school, with 250 students (133 of them are girls), more or less represents another turning point of those schools towards quality education.