A new $25 million U.S. government-funded education program that will improve the reading and learning

Phnom Penh: March 23, 2022, a new $25 million U.S. government-funded education program that will improve the reading and learning experience for Cambodian primary schoolchildren was launched in Phnom Penh today at an event jointly presided over by H.E. Dr. Hang Chuon Naron, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports; U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia W. Patrick Murphy; and Ms. Nancy J. Eslick, Mission Director of USAID Cambodia.

The new Inclusive Primary Education Activity (IPEA) builds on the earlier achievements of USAID’s support to early grade reading known as “All Children Reading–Cambodia.” IPEA will work with education stakeholders across Cambodia to improve the foundational literacy skills of children through the Ministry of Education’s “Komar Rien Komar Cheh” (Children Learn, Children Can Do) program.

Ambassador W. Patrick Murphy said, “Today’s young minds are tomorrow’s leaders, and we are proud to support the children of Cambodia with the academic tools that will help them excel in an increasingly complex and interconnected world.” He added, “We are confident that our collaboration on Komar Rien Komar Cheh will have wide-ranging benefits for students as well as the entire Kingdom.”

The Komar Rien Komar Cheh program includes harmonized reading materials developed by USAID for national use. To date, approximately 6,500 teachers have been trained on the complete set of these reading materials for grades 1 and 2, along with upper preschool, as part of the partnership among MoEYS, USAID, and the Global Partnership for Education. The trained teachers have implemented the Khmer literacy program and new teaching methods with support from professional mentors in eight provinces.

His Excellency Minister Dr. Hang Chuon Naron said, “I hope that through the next five years of collaboration with USAID we will continue to work toward a positive evolution of the early grades and push for an even more effective sector-wide approach.” he added, “With this (new effort), we are working toward expanding the implementation of the Komar Rien Komar Cheh program as well as our dedicated support to inclusive education, which aims to leave no child behind.”

With USAID’s support, the reading program has already reached over 200,000 students, roughly 32 percent of Cambodia’s public primary school students. Furthermore, Cambodia’s education stakeholders worked together as part of the COVID response to deliver the home learning materials to all grade 1 and 2 students and parents nationwide during last year’s school closures.

IPEA will build on these recent successes by expanding to additional provinces and working with the Ministry of Education and partners to bring the program to a national scale. As well as collaborating directly to support Special Schools, IPEA plans to support teachers who work with children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Photo by: U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh, Cambodia