Twinning to Transform the Education System

through Capacity Development in Cambodia

Transforming the education system in Cambodia is the key to long-term success, and it is a vision given high priority at the Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport. Ministry officials say this transformation starts with capacity development of education administrators in planning and management, in collaboration with IIEP.

At the end of a two-week specialized course on Management of Human Resources at IIEP in Paris, Dr Sieng Sovanna, Director of the National Institute of Education (NIE), Cambodia, is reflecting on the skills he has learned. He says he now feels better equipped to plan for the best possible education system to meet the needs of people in Cambodia.

“The training at IIEP has been invaluable for me and my colleagues. Following support from IIEP, the Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) has been able to establish a department on educational planning and management in the National Institute of Education (NIE), which is now working on plans for the system for post-2015 [when the current MDGs deadline expires]. By 2015, we will be spreading the knowledge we have gained at IIEP countrywide,” Dr Sovanna said.
A group of 15 staff members from Cambodia’s NIE and from the Department of Planning (DoP) in the MoEYS have been studying various specialized IIEP courses to become trainers so they can return home and train teams of colleagues.
“The learning environment is unique at IIEP because we are with people from all over the world. I’ve been exchanging ideas with people from Afghanistan, Liberia, and India,” the NIE Director explained.

“With the skills I have learned at IIEP, I feel confident that I will be able to make a change and have better-quality education in Cambodia and help build a better education system,” he added.

The training is being offered as part of IIEP’s twinning programme with the NIE, the Department of Planning in the MoEYS, and the Royal University of Phnom Penh.
The twinning programme aims to help transform the NIE into an effective centre for training and research in educational planning and management, so that it can better serve its local education partners at the national, provincial, and district levels, and become a regional training hub.

Dr Sovanna stressed that Cambodia was in the process of transformation as a nation, integrating into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) by 2015, and pushing to change from a low-income to an upper-middle-income country by 2030 and a high-income country by 2050: “We can only do this if we have future generations of children who are educated to the best possible level”.
The IIEP support to the Cambodian NIE is run as a project under the Capacity Development Partnership Fund, which is financed by the European Union, the Government of Sweden, and UNICEF, with the twinning programme being coordinated locally by UNICEF.

Staff from NIE and DoP have also benefitted from two blended training courses, respectively on “educational planning: basic concepts and techniques” and “fundamental skills for education sector plan preparation”. In addition, NIE staff participated in a series of research and training workshops to help them prepare a training course for provincial and district officers. Some colleagues also took part in the Advanced Training Programme (ATP) at IIEP. In Cambodia, support has also been provided in establishing a specialized documentation centre within NIE and for the organization of an educational planning seminar with the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) and staff from the department of Higher Education and Planning.

“Many people working in the NIE and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport in Cambodia have limited background in education planning, so the course at IIEP is crucial for us. People are usually promoted based on how much teaching experience they have, rather than for their specific planning skills.”

The NIE Director said there had been some visible improvements since the twinning programme started: “We have developed proper budgets for our education system and an annual plan for the curriculum. We had no idea of how to do this before”.

With more than 5,000 education planners from over 160 nationalities having taken part in training programmes over several decades, IIEP/UNESCO constantly updates its training programmes to meet the needs of a fast-changing world. The training courses on offer are unique, grounded in practice and built on rigorous research and significant operational experience. The Institute offers a wide array of courses, both in residential mode and at a distance, ranging from two-week professional development courses to the comprehensive 9-month intensive, residential Advanced Training Programme (ATP).

You can apply online for the IIEP Advanced Training Programme