Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS), the European Union (EU), and UNICEF united in Siem Reap to assess the progress of safe school reopening amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This visit underscored their commitment to safeguarding children’s right to education during this unprecedented crisis.
The EU stepped forward with a €2 million investment, propelling a nationwide back-to-school campaign. This initiative offers practical guidance to children, parents, educators, and school personnel on minimizing COVID-19 transmission risks and fostering safe learning environments. Extending through 2021, the campaign will evolve to incorporate aspects of building a healthy and nurturing atmosphere for students.
Beyond the campaign, the EU, alongside UNICEF and MoEYS, partnered to strengthen and broaden the national scholarship program. This program targets financially disadvantaged students, particularly those from grades 7 to 12, who risk dropping out due to the pandemic’s socioeconomic repercussions.
Their Siem Reap visit allowed representatives to engage with scholarship recipients, school directors, and teachers. These interactions highlighted the tangible benefits of the scholarship program and the positive influence of hygiene supplies and COVID-19 awareness messages in schools.
EU Ambassador to Cambodia, Carmen Moreno, reiterated education’s status as a fundamental human right and a cornerstone of Cambodia’s development. Recognizing the pandemic’s disruptive impact on global education, with potential long-term implications for recovery, she reaffirmed the EU’s dedication to supporting Cambodia’s safe school reopening initiatives and guaranteeing high-quality education for all children.
UNICEF Representative in Cambodia, Foroogh Foyozat, viewed the pandemic as an opportunity to envision and reconstruct education systems with inclusivity and resilience at their core. She advocated for collective efforts from development partners and robust governmental leadership to materialize this vision.
Cambodia’s safe school reopening initiative marks a crucial step toward ensuring universal access to quality education. The unwavering support of the EU and UNICEF proves instrumental in navigating this journey.