Government, Donors Launch Second Phase of School Project

Unicef, Sweden and the European Union (E.U.) on Monday launched the second multimillion-dollar phase of a yearslong project intended to improve the administration of Cambodia’s underfunded schools and the quality of its underpaid and undereducated teachers.

Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron said the $11-million Capacity Development Partnership Fund project, which starts this month and runs until December 2016, will focus on grades 9 to 12, during which the strong enrollment and matriculation of earlier grades fall drastically.

While teachers will learn to become better instructors, administrators at the schools and Education Ministry will receive help drawing up plans and allocating funds, Mr. Naron said at the launch of the project in Phnom Penh.

“These are the things a school director needs to be able to do, with the support of the [fund],” he said.

A spokeswoman for the E.U. said an evaluation of the $14.1-million first phase of the project, which ran from 2011 to 2014, has yet to conclude.

The government is regularly criticized by NGOs, and occasionally its own officials, for not committing enough money to education.

The sector is set to get $433 million of the 2015 national budget’s $3.8-billion total, about $100 million more than the year before but far less than what experts say it should receive as a share of Cambodia’s gross domestic product.

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