Education Project for At-Risk Youths Launched

A three-year nonformal education project, expected to benefit more than 3,000 poor children, was officially launched Monday.

With a budget of $603,016 from the UN Human Security Fund, the Nonformal Basic Education and Vocational Skill Training for Children and Youths at Risk project will teach reading and writing, basket-making, chicken-raising, traditional Khmer music and basic health care.

Monday’s announcement follows an Aug 2 Council of Minis­ters decree seeking to improve Cambodia’s nonformal education system, by enhancing teacher training, encouraging dropouts to return to school and spreading nonformal education to community learning centers and pagodas. Under this new policy, the government agreed to grant the Ministry of Education’s Non-Formal Education Depart­ment  $500,000 for the next year.

The Unesco-coordinated project will reintegrate children be­tween the ages of 5 and 12 “into the formal education system wherever possible. The formation of community self-help groups and children’s club, sports and youth groups” will also be implemented, said Sue Fox, the Unes­co project officer for nonformal education.

Computer training, English classes and training in setting up small businesses are also part of the program, she said.

The project will target Phnom Penh, Battambang, Siem Reap, Kandal, Prey Veng, Kompong Cham and Svay Rieng provinces. Five local NGOs will also take part in the project.


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