Date : 2020-11-24
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Chheu Khleum Primary School locates in the Chheu Khleum village of the rural area in Memot district, Tbaung Khmum province. It takes approximately 30 minutes to reach it by traveling across the 26-kilometre pathway surrounded by the rubber tree farms. The people in this area face severely difficulties. The children spend times to help their parents do the jobs such as resining rubbers and migration but not go to schools properly. Chheur Kleum primary school consists of 512 students (235 females), 11 teachers and staff (5 females) and 15 School Support Committee members (3 females).


Mr. Neth Sokhan has been undertaking the position of School Director of Chheur Khleum Primary School since 2009 to the present and getting through many difficult obstacles to change the face and prosperity of his school; and receiving support from local communities, stakeholders and various generous individuals especially the intervention of the Happy Cambodian Children (HCC) project. The school support movement is becoming increasingly attractive based on a number of key factors including: school leaders must use their hearts to focus on school work, transparency, justice, accountability, competency, willingness, overcoming obstacles, internal harmony and time dedication to boost school work more than personal work. The close cooperation of the School Support Committee also ease the school's heavy workload.


Before the HCC project intervention arrival, Chheur Khleum Primary School faced many difficulties. It was the school cluster affiliated with Sen Chey Primary School and Mr. Sokhan was the Deputy Director due to no a proper director. Chheur Khleum Primary School was seceded from the school cluster in 2010 under the intervention of an nongovernmental organization. The leading school at that time was faced difficulties including lacking of good buildings; and two old buildings where the children were studying were very dilapidated. Renovation of these two old dilapidated buildings was required a lot of money but the school could not afford. The library was mixed with the school office. The old dilapidated buildings were flooded and disturbing the students’ studies. The parents in the respective have been too poor to join repairing buildings. However, Mr. Sokhan was still trying to lead the school with solutions. By that time, the school support committee were not yet fully aware of their roles and responsibilities and are not very involved in school work. The communities often blamed the school and were not involved in school developmental work at all.


After the HCC intervention at the end of the academic year 2018-2019, Chheu Khlom Primary School was renovated its old dilapidated buildings which have consisted of new and clean environment, separate library and school office with neatly modern desks in order. The project requested the District Office of Education, Youth and Sport of Memot to have a separate librarian. The project provided $ 6,000 along with another $ 6,000 supported-community contribution to renovate an old wooden building into a steel building. Mr. Sokhan has been really happy and excited and nothing could be compared to the project intervention especially the project helped build a preschool building.


Mr. Sokhan has learned a lot and made many positive changes in school leadership including primary and preschool building infrastructures, providing primary and preschool leadership trainings and capacity building for School Support Committee. In general, recruiting school support committee is based on selecting influential people, but Chheur Khleum primary school does not have any incomes for them, so the school has recruited village chiefs to be the chairman, vice village chief as the deputy chairman, village members as the treasurer of the committee. The reading coaches have been established by the project for teaching struggling students.


The HCC project provides a training how to elect a School Support Committee by letting parents vote a person who they love. The election was won to other candidates rather than the school nominee. The elected committee were trained to be aware of their roles and responsibilities to implement the reconciliation, work closely with the school and the communities, make Chheur Khleum primary school change positively quickly. Another excitement factor is that the school has now had reading tests to measure the student ability of Grade 1, 2 and 3. All kinds of learning aids, parents can come to the school library to borrow books to teach their children at homes. The parents and the communities are very happy and regularly come to borrow books and learning aids. Another new lesson learned, the HCC project helps Chheur Khleum Primary School hold regular meetings with parents to find out weak factors especially struggling and poor students to plan further school development activities.


The HCC project intervention is very valuable and priceless for myself and school work. Generally, if a school has only clean environments, community engagements, qualified teachers with Bachelor's or Master's Degrees, but the student learning quality still does not meet all of these, that school is zero, no quality, like we wear clean and beautiful clothes, but our body have ringworms, is not good”, Mr. Khon Sokhan emphasized. The HCC project changes the attitude of school directors/deputy directors, teachers, school support committees, librarian, students, and setting up Child Friendly Classrooms. The school support committee get more improved and busier to participate in school work than the past including coming to school early in the morning, cleaning the school kiosks, inspecting the school environment, taking care of students’ safety. SSC also monitor the teaching and teacher’s attendance list, outreaching staff working hour punctuality and receive information from/and announce parents, help manage preschool, sometimes give warnings to late teachers. Mr. Khan Van Det, elected Chairman of the School Support Committee, said: “I am very happy with the project intervention because I have been trained to understand the importance of roles and responsibilities and to cultivate a love for school development. This school is like my home as well. I have to be in charge regularly, do things transparently with the school leaders and communities."


Making a school be qualified development, it requires school leaders to use their hearts, transparency, ability and dedication to school work and to be united. The project achievements have made both teachers, deputy directors/librarian and parents dare to dedicate their personal time to help school work and commit to sustainably maintain and conserve these achievements.




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