Pre-school development in Cambodia

A project to address low pre-school attendance in Cambodia as a result of its civil war history and a limited understanding of the importance of early education. 

Building Futures project in Cambodia new primary school and play area

The need

Civil war destroyed education infrastructure and many teaching staff were killed. Primary schools have expanded in Cambodia over the last decade but enrolment is still not high enough to meet government targets.

Before we started the project with Plan International in 2012, only 23% of children aged three to five had access to early education. In the Kampong Chan province, numbers were particularly low with only 4.5% of the 7,800 children in this age group attending pre-school.

Ms Dav Chanlong, a teacher at the school, said: 

“At first it was difficult to teach the small children as some were afraid and cried. However, now they are easy to teach because they are friendly and have support from their parents. My students are cleverer than before coming to school – they can write and read, they work together, have good morals and speak politely.”

What we achieved

The project involved two primary schools – Reul and Cheung Ang – in the Kampong Chan province of Cambodia. 

The project successfully:

  • Constructed two new pre-school buildings, each with six classrooms
  • Provided child-friendly tables, chairs and white boards
  • Built new toilet blocks with separate facilities for girls and boys
  • Created an outdoor play area
  • Provided art materials
  • Appointed 11 education officers trained in management and early childhood teaching
  • Ran community awareness sessions on the importance of pre-school education.

We visited the school project in January 2013

The impact

By the end of the project, 42 pre-school children aged three to five were enrolled at Reul primary school and the government appointed six new teachers to the school. 

The community was engaged throughout the project, donating resources and labour. This success has continued and parents and caregivers are inspired to send their children to school and take an active role in school activities.  

Highlights five years on:

  • 150 students enrol every year at each pre-school
  • Literacy and numeracy rates improve
  • 200% increase in enrolment at one of the pre-schools
  • 55% girls in cohort of one of the pre-schools
  • 100% graduation into grade 1 at both schools.

With this school construction, our dream of a school in which our children can learn properly is coming true. Thanks so much to Plan and Study Group.

An elderly villager

Old school building in Cambodia New school building in Cambodia