Then the ones who pleased the Lord will ask, "When did we give you something to eat or drink? When did we welcome you as a stranger or give you clothes to wear or visit you while you were sick or in jail?"
The King will answer, "Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me." .......Matthew 25

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

One session schools

Since the late 1980s, the Ministry of Education is Singapore has been moving our education system towards one session schools. The target is that by 2016, all primary schools in Singapore will only be one sessions schools. I can imagine it is a logistically and operationally difficult exercise. That it has taken 30 years to get to this stages gives an idea of how difficult this journey can be.

In Cambodia, the schools are all double-sessioned, and plagued by corruption and cheating. The quality of education is suspect and the schools system runs in parallel with a corrupt private tuition scheme. Brehm & Silova (2014) has written an excellent review of this complex and dishonest system operating in Cambodia. Recently, the government appears to be making some attempts to deal with these problems and to improve the quality of education in Cambodia. The recent moves to crack down on corruption at the Grade 12 exams resulted in massive numbers of failures and considerable grief to the students accustomed to being able to cheat their way through the exams.

They have also made moves to improve teacher salaries. What we heard in the villages is that together with salary increases, the government is also banning teachers from teaching over two sessions. We do not know what the implications will be for classroom utilization. The assumption is that teachers will teach only one session, and students will therefore have to get used to a one session school. However, this does not appear to be the case. Schools will continue to operate over two sessions, so technically there will be twice the numbers of teachers.

The schools we had built in the past years are now fully occupied. Three classrooms operating two sessions handle students over Grades 1-6. Currently there appears to be no demand for extra space, should schools move towards a one session system.

We are keeping our eyes on these developments.

School@Phum Leav

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