Cambodia’s education system has made enormous strides in the last several years, with the primary net enrollment rate rising steadily to 96% in 2011. The lower secondary school net enrollment rate is 34% and upper secondary is 21% as of 2011. Since 2004, USAID’s education projects have helped increase access to, and the relevance and quality of, basic education for Cambodian children in grades 1-9.
USAID’s five-year, $10 million Improved Basic Education in Cambodia project started in October 2009 and emphasizes improvement of the quality and accessibility of education for girls, the very poor and minorities. The project focuses on scholarships to vulnerable youth; school improvement grants; development and testing of relevant lower secondary life skills curricula; teacher training; school management training; strengthening local civil society, including education NGOs; and government capacity development. This is the fourth USAID education project since 2004.
• Over 141,000 children are currently benefitting from USAID’s education project, including 5,600 students who have received scholarships, 95% of whom have stayed in school.
• Developed and pilot tested a national curriculum for lower secondary school that focuses on building essential life skills to increase the relevance of education in poor, rural communities. The curriculum includes subjects such as business and economic skills, information technology, livelihoods such as aquaculture and farming, and health education, such as hygiene and alcohol prevention. The previous project also supported the revision of the basic education curriculum for four core subjects: the Khmer language, mathematics, science and social studies.
• Provided training for over 1,800 primary and lower secondary school teachers and administrators, thereby increasing the capacity of schools to deliver a quality education.
• Of USAID-supported schools, 61% reported a decreased drop-out rate and 64% reported a decrease in grade repetition.
• Helped build 22 solar-powered, energy-efficient computer laboratories that provide information and communication technology access to students in rural schools.
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