Wednesday, 5 October 2011

"Big Po" Community School in Takeo District

Big Po community school is one of 15 locations where CamKids, in conjunction with the local NGO New Futures Organisation, operates rural schools in the Takeo region of Cambodia. CamKids funds all of the running costs of the 15 schools and is working with NFO to improve the quality of the teaching and the buildings where the teaching takes place. The following post is an extract from a report made by CamKids' local staff member, who regularly checks and monitors the schools.

Big Po is located in Pou village, Sambuor commune, Treang district, Takeo province. It is 12km from Takeo town and takes nearly one hour to get there, via the main road. Big Po opened in 2008 in a female teacher’s house in Pou village, for which she charges a nominal rent to use her house. None of the students are charged for the lessons and all of the books and other materials are provided free of charge by CamKids.

There are two English teachers who are qualified teachers at local State schools. One is a teacher in the Pou primary school and the other, a high school teacher. They are hired to teach English to the children after normal school hours, under the rural schools programme developed by NFO and CamKids. The wages which they earn supplement the low wages which are paid in the State schools and help to support their families. They usually teach about three hours per day from Monday to Friday in the afternoon (State schools usually only operate in the mornings). They are often helped by visiting foreign volunteers, which gives both the students and the teachers the opportunity to practice their spoken English and improve their accents.

During the State school vacations, the teaching schedule is changed, as the students are free all day. With the agreement of the Authorities, they move the lessons to the Pou primary school which is located in the village and is better for the children as there are more opportunities to learn and play.

The syllabus depends upon the age and ability of the group which is being taught. For example, some children learn from the Beginner New Headway syllabus, whilst others use Let’s Go Part One. The total number of students being taught in this community school is 116 at an annual cost of around $1,400 (£900) which equates to a cost per child of around $12 or £8. CamKids is also working to provide additional training for the teachers and has also established a teaching English by Phonics course, which all of the teaches have been instructed in, by a visiting educationalist from Australia.

If you would like to support this or any of our other education projects, please send an email to A regular donation of £30 ($50) per month will pay the wages of one of the teachers at Big Po school and £20 per month ($30) will pay all of the costs for 30 children to attend school for a year.

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