The power of media to advocate for Education for all
With the ability to be influencers for good, media plays an important role in informing the public about children’s rights and advocates for our specific cause “Education for All.” In May 2015, AEA Cambodia worked in close relation with other key organizations in education to organize a live radio programme on The Voice of Democracy (VOD).
AEA national and international efforts are underway across all continents to contribute to the protection of the fundamental right to education. “Media and communication have tremendous potential to contribute to our efforts,” says Prasith Chin AEA Senior Communication Officer in Cambodia.
The main topic of the radio programme on VOD was the barriers of education, with special attention paid to the most marginalized children such as migrants, children with disabilities or children from ethnic minorities. “Our objective in Cambodia is to advocate with the Government, policy-makers and education officials to develop fundamentally and sustainably an inclusive education system that caters to every child,” he added. “We highlighted the key challenges children face as a basis to assist decision-makers to formulate adequate policies and address these problems.”
The main guest speaker was Phalla Neang, a public figure in Cambodia. A pioneer in teaching blind pupils and finalist at the 2015 Global Teacher Prize, Phalla Neang is a goodwill ambassador for education. Along with representatives from NGO partners, she discussed the major challenges faced by marginalized children. “There is the language barrier that causes high dropout rates among ethnic minority children,” underlines Prasith Chin, “the lack of qualified and trained teachers, the lack of school infrastructures that are adapted for inclusive education, the lack of parents and local communities involvement, etc.”
© AEA Cambodia / Prasith Chin
At the end of the programme, recommendations were made to the Government and key people: “The government, the local communities, and school support committees should reinforce their collaboration with organizations, especially the CCOSC* members in order to improve access to education for everyone.” A call has also been made to raise awareness of parents and caregivers on the importance of their role in improving the well-being of children and in the child development process.
The programme was aired live in Phnom Penh and the suburbs, while a replay was broadcasted a few days later in the most remote areas. “Of course, we did not forget minority groups,” concludes Prasith Chin with a smile. “This radio programme has been translated in Bunong, Krung, Brao and Tumpoun. It is imperative that they are informed so they can be involved with us to improve the situation of education in our country.”
* CCOSC: The Cambodian Consortium for Out of School Children consists of 17 education NGO’s. The mission is to reach 57,000 children over three years and a half. It is led by Aide et Action and co-funded by Educate A Child. More: www.ccosc.org