Siem Reap, Cambodia (24 January 2020) – As the world observed the second International Day of Education on 24 January 2020, Aide et Action hosted a special event at Wat Bo Primary School, Siem Reap, where students pledged their commitment to “learning for people, planet, prosperity, and peace”.
International Day of Education, a day to honour education and its centrality to human well-being, is being marked by Aide et Action, an international development organisation, as an opportunity to listen to Cambodian school children across the country express their views on the importance of education. The event also sought to highlight the potential of education to change the world among local communities.
Over 100 Cambodian primary schools were invited by Aide et Action to give their students the time and space to reflect on this special day. Leading the way, was Wat Bo Primary School in Siem Reap, which has become renowned as a model school in Cambodia and further afield. Representatives from the school’s 6,444 student cohort discussed how learning can empower people, preserve the planet, build shared prosperity and foster peace.
Increasing access to quality education is at the heart of what Aide et Action does. The organisation leads the Cambodian Consortium of Out of School Children, a consortium made up of 23 local and international organisations, established to address the barriers that prevent approximately 250,000 Cambodian children from currently attending school.
The 2020 celebration of International Day of Education positioned education and the learning it enables as humanity’s greatest renewable resource and reaffirmed the role of education as a fundamental right, a public good and an enabler of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 2020 theme ‘Learning for people, planet, prosperity and peace’, highlighted the integrated nature of education, its humanistic aims, as well as its centrality to our collective development ambitions. Education is a powerful catalyst – for combating poverty and inequality, improving health and well-being, and overcoming discrimination.
Speaking about this year’s theme, Aide et Action Cambodia’s Country Director Samphors Vorn said “inclusive and equitable quality education is the only way to create a more equal and just world. Creating safe and empowering environments for children of all ages, where they can learn and grow, will give them opportunities to break out of the cycle of poverty they are trapped in.”
In Cambodia, Aide et Action is using many different approaches to address the key barriers keeping children out of school. Formal, non-formal and informal learning opportunities can play a major part in the transformation needed to realize more sustainable societies, in concert with initiatives from government, civil society and the private sector. Analysis conducted by UNESCO indicates that if all people completed secondary school, as called for by Sustainable Development Goal 4, world poverty could be cut in half.
Since 2014, Aide et Action and partners have worked together to improve access, quality and efficiency of primary education for out of school children. With support from Educate A Child, a program of the Educate Above All Foundation, they have built partnerships with nearly 1,200 schools across Cambodia, renovated 300 classrooms and built 33 new schools from the ground up, and opened over 3,500 re-entry and remedial classes. Since its formation, the Consortium has enrolled almost 60,000 out of school, of whom 46% are girls.
“Days like International Day of Education are opportunities for us all join forces and demonstrate our commitment to contributing to a comprehensive, inclusive education system that caters for every child in Cambodia” added Samphors.
Aide et Action is an international non-profit working in 19 countries around the world supporting the development of sustainable education projects. Aide et Action has been working in Southeast Asia since 2003 and has projects across Cambodia, Lao PDR and Vietnam. Aide et Action ensures access to quality education for the most vulnerable and marginalised populations, especially children, so they can take charge of their own development and contribute to a more peaceful and sustainable world.