“Let us reaffirm our personal and collective commitment to improving education systems so that all children are included and no child is left behind. We can only create a better tomorrow by building upon what we do today. Let us be the changes we want to see,” said Yasmin Abdeen, AEA President for Southeast Asia and China at the official launching of the Cambodian Consortium for Out Of School Children (CCOSC) presided by His Excellency Dr. Hang Chuon Naron, Minister of Education and held on 29 January 2015 in Phnom Penh.
This event could be an historical and important turning point in Cambodia’s education landscape. AEA Cambodia launched a nationwide first, an unprecedented coming together of 17 international and local development actors uniting behind a mission to enroll and retain more than 57,000 children of primary school age that are currently missing out on an education. This initiative is co-funded by Educate A Child (EAC). (lien: http://educateachild.org/our-partners-projects/partner/aide-et-action-international)
Yasmin Abdeen advocated for an inclusive education system that caters to every child. “The right to equal opportunity for education is one of the few human rights that is widely endorsed and sadly also widely ignored. Marginalization is not a new problem. It begins long before children enter school and continues into adult life. It is a consequence of formal and informal discrimination that is nestled in social, economic and political processes that inhibit opportunities for some groups and individuals,” she said.
AEA Education Specialist Sheldon Shaeffer wondered why is the blame for children being out of school placed more often on the children themselves instead of the education system? As he explained, “it is not about children living too far from the school, it is about the school being too far from the children. It’s not that parents are too poor, it’s the school that is too expensive. It’s not that parents are not aware of the importance of schooling, the problem is that the school does not demonstrate why it is important.” He then provided some views about enrolling and retaining out of school children in Southeast Asia.
With the conviction that it’s necessary to join forces to address the issue at the individual and systemic level, AEA Regional Director Prasert Tepanart asserted: “By combining our collective strength and expertise we are confident that we can play an important role in the long-term development of the Cambodian education system for the benefit of present and future generations.” Yasmin Abdeenadded: “It is incredible just to think of what this project can achieve and how lives would be positively impacted. This launch marks the beginning of new ways different entities will work together to transform lives by educating all. The scope and scalability of the project is limitless and without boundaries.”
The Minister of Education welcomed the initiative and applauded joint operations to address this common issue. He paid a tribute to all those who contributed to this step forward and reiterated its full support to the consortium to ensure a successful project implementation.
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supported efforts to increase awareness and advocate for a Cambodian inclusive education system.
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