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Cheng Sreykhouch, 6, is a young student in first grade at Prongel Primary School in Cambodia’s western Pursat Province. Sreykhouch is the second child in her family, which consists of her parents and her older brother. Sreykhouch’s mother is a farmer and her farther is carpenter. Every day, Sreykhouch’s mother gets her ready for school and then takes her one kilometer to school on her motorbike.
“In the first quarter, it seemed my daughter did not want to study and at home she did not want to read her books,” Sreykhouch’s mother said.
Little Sreykhouch was scared to go to school, and she was especially fearful of being asked to read or answer questions in front of the class. She was not happy and thought her mother was forcing her to go to school and read books at home. Sreykhouch was resistant to go to school, and used her mother as an example as to why she could afford not to study. “If I did not go to school, I can be a farmer,” said Sreykhouch.
“Compared to the other students in the class, Sreykhouch found it difficult to read and write Khmer alphabets at the first quarter of school year,” said Ms. Chanly, Sreykhouch’s teacher.
Ms. Chanly asked the other students to help Sreykhouch in class, and she encouraged her to try her best at home. Sreykhouch’s mother tried her best to get her to study at home, and was always discussing her difficulties with Ms. Chanly.
With support from Norad, Save the Children and partner organization, Buddhism for Social Development Action (BSDA), are working closely with the Pursat Provincial Office of Education and the District Office of Education to support teachers, school directors and other education officials to better understand the educational needs and methods for teaching children with different abilities. The project has provided training to teachers and educational officials on how to teach Khmer literacy, how to conduct literacy and numeracy evaluations, and how to produce teaching and learning materials to respond the different needs of children.
“After receiving three trainings from the project on how to teach literacy and how to produce teaching and learning material to support [children with special needs] I apply those new skills and techniques to my students and it works for [them], and it has also helped Sreykhouch to improve, now she can [catch up with] the lessons,” she added.
Ms. Chanly has been able to implement these lessons by using a variety of teaching and learning materials, such as pictures, objects and games. On Thursdays, she now gives two hours of specialized support to Sreykhouch and other students to practice the Khmer alphabet and pronunciation. She has an open and supportive relationship with Sreykhouch so they can discuss her difficulties in school. Ms. Chanly has also helped give advice to Sreykhouch’s mother about how she support her daughter at home.
“Now Sreykhouch has improved a lot, she can read and write most of the Khmer alphabets,” said Ms. Chanly.
Sreykhouch’s mother is very happy with her daughter’s progress, “Now, I see my daughter has improved a lot, she wants to go school and at home she can read her books.She can read and write almost all the Khmer alphabets,” she added.
“I like the way my teacher teaches us in the class” said Sreykhouch. “She uses many things such as pictures and study games. I want to be a good teacher when I grow up, because I can teach my students like my teacher does,” Sreykhouch said with a smile.