Siem Reap, the major tourist hub in the Kingdom of Cambodia, is facing an economic challenge. As a result, the province, despite being a major tourist destination, is still one of the poorest provinces in the country. Young people, especially from the rural communities of Srey Snom and Kralangh, find it challenging to continue to higher education or find employment because of their lack of English language skills. Due to language barriers, young rural Cambodians miss out on opportunities that they would otherwise have.
The Cambodian Government through the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport has introduced English into the Primary and High School curriculum but the quality of teaching is very poor and class sizes are too big to facilitate a high quality of teaching. Responding to this reality, PEPY’s English High School project aims to provide Kralanh and Srei Snam High School students, regardless of their socioeconomic background, with access to high quality English classes. PEPY also motivates the students to continue higher education as well as using their language skills to seek employment.
English High School Classes are available to Kralanh and Srei Snam High School students in grades 10, 11, and 12. We recruit teachers who have been teaching in the school and who have good English to teach the students. The students take an English pre-test to identify their level of English and they are divided into groups based on the results of their test. In each school, we employ 3 teachers and each teacher takes two, one-hour classes four days each week.
2017: Over 329 students from both schools applied to study English with PEPY. 175 students were from Kralanh and 154 students were from Srei Snam. Most of the students were female. 322 of all of them showed up for English placement test. The majority of the students were at elementary level and about a quarter of the students were at pre-intermediate level.
- The teachers that we are working with also have their own working schedules. Therefore, it is hard for PEPY personnel to schedule meeting time with them.
- Too many students are applying to study with PEPY even though we aim to only have a maximum 25 students per class. Some of the classes have more than 30 students, significantly lower than regular government public classes.
- The students are very busy with their extra curriculum activities. Therefore, it is very challenging for PEPY to allocate students to their most appropriate class level.
- Some of our English teachers still have limited English proficiency. Yet we appreciate that they are motivated to improve themselves and in turn help their students to improve their English skills.
- PEPY does not have a dedicated staff member to manage its English High School Project. PEPY seeks supports from Dream officers in Kralanh and Srei Snam as well as staff from other projects to communicate with and support the English teachers.
- Since the teachers are not PEPY staff, it is hard to hold them accountable and always do things on time as they also have their own responsibilities in their public-school roles.