What were the main aims of the initiative?

The Kampuchean Action for Primary Education (KAPE) Multi-cultural Training Manual was developed for use with teachers and community members as part of the MORE (Minority Outreach in Education) programme. The programme has a number of interventions designed to build bridges within the community and encourage inclusion of children from ethnic minority groups in education.

The objective of the training is to facilitate understanding and cooperation between the various cultural groups in the target communities and to give teachers the tools to implement multi-cultural education in the classroom

What were the main aims of the initiative?

The workshop program described in this document seeks to provide a multi-cultural education curriculum that is locally mediated. The objective of the workshop program is to (i) help build bridges between State and Private Cham Schools and (ii) promote language and culture-friendly learning environments for children of all ethnic and religious groups.


Location, setting, Scope, key events etc.

KAPE works mainly in Kampong Cham Province, one of the largest Provinces in Eastern Cambodia. The primary minority groups who benefit from these interventions are known as the Cham. The Cham population in Kampong Cham is the largest minority group in the province, and also the largest minority group in the country. It is estimated that the Chams comprise about 5% of Cambodia’s population and are concentrated in a handful of provinces. Kampong Cham has the largest Cham population of any province, where they comprise about 8% of the population. In some districts, however, this proportion can be as high as one third of the local population.

There are currently a total of 12 schools (6 Islamic schools and 6 State schools) that are receiving direct support from the MORE programme and have undertaken this training.


What issues/challenges does the example address?

The main issue that is addressed by using the MORE training material is the lack of understanding by teachers and communities of issues around cultural sensitivity that ultimately prevents inclusion of minority groups.



How was the Initiative implemented?

Earlier research by KAPE into access and quality of education for children from minority groups led to the development of the MORE program of which the multi-cultural training is one aspect. Findings from this research conducted in 2007, showed that the typical Islamic School is about ten years old and has an enrolment that is anywhere between 90 to 375 students, which includes both boys and girls. The average age range is from 7 to 16 years of age. Interestingly, 40% of the surveyed schools claimed to have been established within the last five years, validating a supposition that their numbers are growing. About 70% of schools claimed to have had permission to open from the Provincial Office of Education, although most rarely had any kind of continuous contact with local education authorities thereafter. A majority of these schools (60%) reported that they were originally established with foreign funds, mainly from Malaysia. The typical school has about three tuans teaching there, whose average education level may vary from basic literacy to Grade 12. None of the schools reported having had tuans with a post-secondary education and only 20% reported providing any kind of staff development that focuses on teaching methodology. Finally, these schools do not appear to be subject to any form of accreditation that would ensure minimum standards of educational practice. For example, only one of the schools surveyed indicated that it teaches mathematics and only three indicated that it taught Khmer Language (a requirement for legal permission to operate, according to the Provincial Office of Education). Thus, if a Cham child attended Islamic schools exclusively, he or she would receive instruction in neither maths nor Khmer Language, which are core subjects in the state schools.

The MORE programme was developed with the following main objectives:

  • To increase general collaboration and dialogue between state and Islamic Schools, leading to improved adherence to government standards.
  • To raise standards at Islamic Schools so that they are providing an adequate standard of education (as prescribed by the state) to the children that are enrolled there.

Based on the above analysis, it was felt that there may be a danger of a growing rift between the two school systems. KAPE, therefore, developed interventions to promote collaboration between the state school system and Cham schools. Such interventions would seek to ensure that adequate standards are adhered to in the Cham schools through positive measures of support, rather than through threats and coercion, which would likely accelerate disaffection between the two. The multicultural training is one of the interventions used.

The training takes the form of a 2-day workshop for community members and teachers, followed by teachers’ workshops to develop culturally sensitive lessons. The programme is run as a partnership between Save the Children Sweden and KAPE.

KEY OUTCOMES & Lessons Learned

What where the key Outcomes? What impact/added value did they prove? What were the biggest challenges?

The workshop was successful and both teachers and community keen to apply their knowledge. In terms of impact the MORE project continues and therefore the impact in terms of children’s attendance and more relevant curricula will only be seen later.


Has the initiative been evaluated or are there plans for this in the future?

No information available


Have any plans been made for future direction of the initiative?

No information available



Are there further information about supporting materials?


Reference Link:

send a message
Send a message

Elaine Jeffery, Management Adviser

KAPE Kampuchean Action for Primary Education, PO Box 1621, Phnom Penh Cambodia

Additional/alternative contact for further information:

Ms Him Mary, Inclusive Education Program Coordinator

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