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Ministry of Education Prioritizes Reopening of 9th and 12th Grade but Limited Students

Phnom Penh: The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports has announced that it will prioritize 9th and 12th grade students in reopening schools. This was following Prime Minister Hun Sen’s speech on Tuesday morning, urging the Minister, Hang Chuon Naron to discuss with the provincial governors to reopen schools from rural areas safe from Covid-19. He was referring to some localities with very low Covid-19 infection rate.

MoEYS swiftly responded to the Prime Minister’s proposal on Tuesday afternoon stating that it will prioritize the graduating students. However, students are limited to not more than 15. This is to ensure the safety of every student. The ministry says that for other levels, classes can be arranged in groups of no more than 15 people, depending on the location which can be at home, pagoda or any appropriate places.

Although there is no schedule for reopening yet, the MoEYS has already provided guidelines for both public and private schools to follow. Teachers over the age of 50 are not permitted to teach face-to-face, only online classes. Although, they can distribute worksheets to students for distance learning. For the safety of every campus, sales of any food or snacks are prohibited. Any sports activities are also not allowed.

The Ministry of Education has required the capital and provincial administrations to assess the situations in all districts and communes to identify which areas can reopen. The ministry states, “The Board of Governors shall determine the high-risk geography, the low-risk geography and the geographical area where there is no Covid-19 infection. The Department of Education, Youth and Sports of the Capital and Provinces shall discuss with the Board of Governors of the Capital and Provinces to select the kindergartens, primary schools, secondary schools and high schools that can be reopened. Evaluate and select educational institutions to be reopened by establishing learning and teaching mechanisms and to prepare a clear plan with the approval of the Capital and Provincial Authority and send to the Ministry for summary. Establish a school management committee with the participation of parents, health workers and local authorities to provide information.”

Prime Minister Hun Sen has proposed that schools located in low-risk areas should go back to face-to-face class with proper distancing and safety health measures in place. For areas with high Covid-19 infection rate, the Prime Minister suggested that students should have a mixed-learning especially in urban areas. That means teachers can teach online and can also distribute worksheets to the students.

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