The importance of English in Cambodia for both continued economic development of the tourist industry and for international trade has been recognised. As part of this recognition, improvements to the teaching and learning of English are high on the agenda. Japan’s largest NGO, The Nippon Foundation (TNF), recently funded the development of new English language teaching materials and training for school grades 7-9, and is now tackling grades 10-12: the final three grades in the Cambodian state school system.
TransformELT was commissioned by the Nippon Foundation and Kizuna (an NGO based in Cambodia) in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) to realise these goals. Adrian Tennant is working as the consultant on this project on behalf of TransformELT. In July 2018 Adrian conducted a research trip to Cambodia. During the trip he visited schools in Phnom Penh and in Koh Kong province – a rural area of Cambodia – where he met with students and teachers, observed classes (and taught one class when the teacher was absent!), as well as holding meetings with stakeholders, including the MoEYS Curriculum Department and National Institute of Education.
Between September 2018 and January 2019 he designed a new curriculum for Grades 10 – 12 based on extensive input from teachers and students on the ground. This gained MoEYS approval and new textbooks will be written for these grades based on the new document. In February 2019 Adrian returned to Cambodia to carry out a selection process to find potential writers for the new textbooks. Initially, thirty-six people expressed an interest in the role. Four people were selected and spent time undergoing training and meetings to discuss the work. They are now writing the new Grade 10 textbook supported remotely by Adrian. This team of writers includes two Cambodians. The illustrator and designer is also Cambodian.
Where possible, TransformELT builds capacity from within education systems and supports sustainability through the nurturing and promotion of local talent.