Save the Children is the world’s leading independent organization for children. We work in over 120 countries. 

We have a clear vision of what success looks like in education: every child receives a good quality education and learns the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in the 21st century. This is the right of every child, irrespective of their gender, ethnicity, social class, and income or whether they live in conflict zones or fragile states. 


Save the Children has been working closely with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) since 1979, rebuilding the Cambodian education system after it was destroyed under the Khmer Rouge regime. Together with our partners, we have contributed to improving the quality of and access to basic education and early childhood care and development services.  

Despite this progress, multiple factors, including inadequate teacher salaries and training, lack of participatory teaching methods and poor learning environments, continue to lead to high dropout rates and weak learning outcomes for children. Cambodian children also experience widespread violence in and out of school, and deep inequalities based on gender, socio-economic status, geographic remoteness and disability. The Cambodian government estimates that only 42% of children reached Grade 9 in the school year 2015 – 2016.  


Our goal is to ensure all children receive early childhood care and development services and a quality basic education, enhancing their development and optimsing their learning outcomes.  


Improve the quality of inclusive early childhood care and development (ECCD) to help children transition successfully into basic education.

Ensure children, especially the most deprived, receive improved quality inclusive basic education and demonstrate relevant learning outcomes related to literacy, numeracy and life skills.

Support MoEYS to identify and provide solutions to expand children’s access to early childhood care and development and basic education in rural, remote and hard to reach areas.

Prepare for and respond to emergencies to achieve our ambition that no child misses a single day of school due to disasters. 


In 2016, our Education programme reached an estimated 492,800 childrenand their families. 

• More than 31,000 children under the age of six attended comprehensive ECCD services.

• More than 3,200 core and lead mothers were trained on how to provide support to their peer parents on early stimulation, reading with their children, health care and nutrition.

• More than 2,600 vulnerable out of school children were supported to access and regularly attend school.

• At 61%, the Grade 3 literacy rate in Save the Children intervention schools is 26 percentage points than the average rate for non-target schools, which is just 35%.

• More than 120,000 children benefited from improved quality teaching methodologies and learning environments through our comprehensive Basic Education programming.   


We work with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) to improve the accessibility and quality of basic education for all Cambodian children. Through this collaboration, we develop, test and document solutions to key challenges in the education system linked to accessibility and quality of basic education, increasing enrolment, and improving learning outcomes for children. We have supported MoEYS to implement its Child Friendly School policy since 2007, aiming to ensure that all children, regardless of their background or ability, have equal opportunities to enter school and to participate in learning inside and outside the classroom.  

To ensure that all children can access and learn in school, we apply different strategies to promote inclusive education, with a focus on the most disadvantaged children - those living in remote areas, children with disabilities and children from very poor families. Among others, we are currently developing and piloting a cost-effective inclusive education model based on stronger collaboration between civil society organisations, schools, and education authorities at the local and national level. 

Our education programming uses a holistic approach following the Quality Learning Environment (QLE) Framework. With this in mind, we look at children’s different emotional and psychological needs, ensure their wellbeing and protection, create a supportive and safe school environment and promote an active teaching-learning process. Parents and community members are actively involved in supporting the learning process and school management. We believe these factors are pre-requisites for children’s learning and development. 

In 2013, we introduced the “I’m Learning” pilot project using the QLE framework as a programming tool. This project aims to improve children’s learning outcomes in literacy and numeracy, and development of their skills in problem solving, critical thinking and other life skills. It includes a research component and will serve as a guide to improve existing programmes and highlight positive achievements of the approach for advocacy. 


Our ECCD programming addresses many issues that are vital for children in their early years, such as health, nutrition, school readiness and early literacy support. We work with fathers and mothers on positive parenting, and empower parents to be their children’s first teachers through community-based peer-to-peer learning. We are also building the capacity of our NGO partners and the private sector to increase access to reading materials for very young children. 

We aim to improve the quality of home based ECCD, with clear quality standards and enhanced monitoring.  To achieve this, we are conducting a longitudinal research study to follow a number of children through the programme to establish how ECCD services influence their overall development and performance in primary school, and creating evidence of the importance of school readiness programmes to assist young children in reaching their full developmental potential and enable a successful transition to basic education. This evidence will contribute to working closely with the government’s Early Childhood Education Department and Pre-school Teacher Training Centre to improve policies, guidelines and curricula so education staff can provide improved ECCD services. 


Our ambitious 0/0 goal is that zero children die, and zero school days are lost, due to disasters. To achieve this, we work with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport to roll out the integrated Disaster Risk Reduction curriculum for Grades 4 – 6, which is taught through investigative learning approaches which encourage children to engage with and explore the environment around them. We co-lead the Humanitarian Response Forum’s Education cluster, and work closely with MoEYS and civil society to advocate for increased resource allocation for disaster risk reduction. We support schools and education authorities from the local to the national level to develop Emergency Preparedness and Response Plans, school safety frameworks and disaster management mechanisms to ensure that schools are safe, and that children’s education continues during floods and droughts.  


Aide et Action, Buddhism for Social Development Action, GNS Science New Zealand, Kampuchea Action for Primary Education, Koh Kong Provincial Department of Environment, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (Departments of Primary Education, Teacher Training, Curriculum Development, Quality Assurance and Early Childhood Education), NGO Education Partnership, Phnom Srey Organisation for Development, Provincial Offices of Education, Youth and Sport (Kampong Cham, Thbong Khmum, Kampong Chhnang, Preah Vihear, Koh Kong, Pursat, Prey Veng, Kratie and Stung Treng), Sipar, UNICEF, Wathnakpheap.



Educate A Child Foundation through Aide et Action, IKEA Foundation through Save the Children Sweden, Japan Social Development Fund through World Bank, New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) through Save the Children New Zealand, Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation through Save the Children Norway, Prudence Foundation through Save the Children UK.


For more information, please find Education Factsheet and Brochures below: