All covid-19 infected cases treated but schools in Cambodia are still close
The COVID – 19 situation in the Kingdom is temporary under control
Since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 reported in Cambodia on 27th of January 2020. By today, 26th May 2020, there are totally 124 people infected, and 122 people out of 124 cases have recovered and are discharged from hospitals (www.worldometers.info).
To fight the pandemic, Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government has implemented strong measures to prevent and control the disease after slow and hesitant actions at the beginning of the pandemic. From the end of March, the country has imposed travel restrictions to Cambodia. In the country, the physical distancing measures applied, such as the cancellation of Khmer New Year in April – the most important holiday of Cambodian people, or the closure of museums, schools and restaurants.
The results are temporary good. By 26 May 2020, there are only two remaining infected cases staying in hospitals for treatment, and no deaths reported. The country has gradually resumed activities, of course, with the preventative measures in place. For example, museums start reopening from 20 May 2020; travel restrictions from provinces to provinces are lifted.
However, schools are still closed!
Since the 16th of March 2020, all schools were required to close to prevent the disease. According to the Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron, temporary closure of all schools will continue indefinitely to prevent a second wave of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) infections in Cambodia. He said, “I see that all schools at all levels should delay reopening and continue monitoring the ongoing COVID-19 situation to prevent community outbreaks and the second wave of infections,”, adding that the pandemic is not under control and a vaccine remains unavailable (https://cambodianess.com)
Talking to some partners in the Kingdom, we know that there are some concerns that the government is still hesitant to open schools. First of all, the number of students per class is high (around 50 – 60 students). It is impossible to conduct physical distancing with such a high volume of students per class. Secondly, there is a concern about the second wave of COVID-19. Lastly, it is not easy for students to comply with all necessary hygienic measures like washing hands regularly and wearing masks all the time.
Overcoming the challenge together!
Guided by the government, schools carry out online pieces of training for students. Mr. Choun Sopheap, a colleague, working for Meta House, said that the school curriculum has been rearranged to online-based. The public schools use televisions to provide the teaching based on the fixed schedules, meanwhile, the private sector has used the online method to continue the education program.
However, not all students get access to those alternative learning methods given the fact that students living in rural and remote areas sometimes don’t have TVs, smartphones or internet.
Parents also face different problems. While they are back to work, no one stays home to take care of their children. Some companies allow parents to work from home some days per week, but not all companies have flexible policies.
Not only students and parents, but schools themselves face lots of challenges, especially private ones., They have to reduce school fees for students while they still have to pay for building rental and teachers’ salaries.
Although there are many temporary obstacles with the education system, positive signals are recorded. From the government side, they are considering resuming schools earlier in June for some grades, and they are discussing stimulus package to support the education sector. Students can join online learning classes during this period. Together with our partners we are also changing plans and rearrange events from school based theater sessions to new more adapted formats.
Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung started its work in Vietnam in 2002 and opened a Representative Office in Hanoi, Vietnam, in 2009. Since then, it has been actively engaged with its partners in supporting the idea of democratic socialism and creating solidarity as well as social cohesion in the region. In recent years, we have expanded our activities to other countries in Southeast Asia, like Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos. Since 2013, we have officially registered in Vietnam as a regional office - Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Southeast Asia (RLS SEA).
In Cambodia, we are working with three partners, including the Cambodian German Cultural Association, Cambodian Center for Independent Media and Coalition of Cambodian Farmer Community. Our projects focus on promoting girl education, social justice, and sustainable agriculture.
We all join hands together in this challenging times and hope that things will be back to normal soon, and students can join “road show performance” in “I am a daughter” project.
Author: Huan Nguyen Van, Van Khanh Pham
Download: All covid-19 infected cases treated but schools in Cambodia are still close (Eng)
Hashtags:#Cambodia #Covid19 #School