Educated children are at the forefront of Cambodia’s sustained emphasis on improving the quality of its education system. A critical stage for improving education is in the early grades (Grades 1-3) because it is then that children learn to read and lay the foundation for later academic success.
In 2015, World Education collaborated with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) and Kampuchean Action for Primary Education (KAPE) to create a reading benchmark system that complements the new reading curriculum for Grades 1 and 2. This marked the first time such benchmarks have been created in Cambodia.
The reading benchmarks include specific tasks and skills that students should master at designated intervals as well as regular interval assessments, which allow teachers to identify struggling students and provide timely, targeted support. These benchmarks have been fully endorsed by the MoEYS and distributed to all schools nationwide this 2015-16 academic year. Among those who are already using the benchmarks, reports indicate that they have become the default teacher guide for the new textbooks.
Grade 3 reading benchmarks have been developed and are currently being piloted at 138 schools across five provinces through the Total Reading Approach for Children Plus project. World Education is currently assisting MoEYS to finalize and adopt the Grade 3 benchmarks finalized for the 2016-2017 academic year.
A Collaborative Process: Training Educators at Local, Provincial and National Levels
To support MoEYS in their efforts to improve early grade reading in Cambodia, World Education collaborates with MoEYS staff, teachers, schools and civil society to promote literacy practices at home, introduce more evidence-based practices into schools and enhance the ability of children to acquire essential early reading skills. In 2015, World Education trained over 800 educators on how to use the reading benchmarks, as well as other early grade reading principles. Working alongside MoEYS officials every step of the way, World Education’s work is bringing system-wide improvements that support positive early-grade literacy outcomes.