Children’s access to primary school has improved, with the net enrollment rate improving from 94.8% to 97% with no gender disparity, repetition rates have fallen and student drop out has declined. A number of incomplete primary schools have been completed. Disability screening and out of school children studies have been conducted. Thousands of schools in 12 provinces implement school feeding programs.
Most primary schools operate using the child friendly school policy. Tools to assess learning achievement have been developed and show that student learning has improved, especially for Khmer language in the early grades. Bilingual education is being expanded as are accelerated learning classes and the multi-grade teaching approach. 15,000 scholarships have been provided to poor children. The development of six hundred schools has been supported using school improvement grants (a program that will be expanded nationwide in school year 2013/2014) and thousands of teachers have been trained in effective teaching and learning.
The role of District Education Office is now key to supporting the effective functioning of service delivery and the District Training and Monitoring Teams (DTMT) modality has been established to provide timely support to schools with National Core Trainers being formally assigned to provide supports to DTMT and schools.
Geographical disparity and incomplete primary schools still limits the access of children to schools and prevents right age entry to school where overage students learning achievements are known to be lower than that for the right age students.
There remains considerable work to be done to increase the capacity of District Education Officers and DTMT. Many schools require better quality inputs, especially schools in rural areas where the role of communities and parents has to be deepened to address cross-cutting social and economic issues at community and home levels. Teacher performance needs to be regularly monitored and assessed and particularly in rural areas, there remains a gap in the number of qualified teachers needed. Many more school principals need support in leadership and management. Improving data accuracy requires further work and better harmonization between Education Management Information System and a school quality assurance system needs to be developed.
Primary education has been considered as a priority and the large percentage of MoEYS budget allocated to this area needs to be maintained. Good public financial management requires the demonstration of a strong linkage between resources and results.
Several development partners will continue to provide financial and technical development of the sub sector: the Global Partnership for Education will develop a program, SIDA provides support through a school improvement grant to every school and EU provides budget support which creates the possibility to increase the school operating budget through Program Budgeting (PB) funds. The multi donor funded Capacity Development Partnership Fund provides opportunities to strengthen capacity at all levels. World Food Program (WFP) will continue the school feeding program. And other DPs and NGOs implement innovative programs which provide input to policy discussion and possible scale up.