Cambodia: Science and Technology Project in Upper Secondary Education

Sovereign (Public) Project | 55134-001

Cambodia has experienced rapid growth from 2011 to 2019 with its gross domestic product (GDP) expanding by an average of 7.6% per year. Structural transformation contributed to the country's impressive growth. In 2020, agriculture's share in GDP dropped to 22.8% from 34.6% in 2011, while industry's share increased to 34.7% from 22.1% during the same period. The service sector's share to GDP remained significant at 36.2% in 2020, albeit a slight decrease from 37.5% in 2011. The government's strategic vision of shifting its economy to a broad-based, industrial, and technology-oriented economy has increased private sector investment in the country, which in turn has increased the demand for high quality human resources, especially in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) field. However, Cambodia's education system is unable to keep up with demand, and skills gaps remain significant.

Project Details

Project Name Science and Technology Project in Upper Secondary Education
Project Number 55134-001
Country Cambodia
Project Status Proposed
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Loan
Source of Funding / Amount
Loan: Science and Technology Project in Upper Secondary Education (CAM STeP Up)
concessional ordinary capital resources lending / Asian Development Fund US$ 80.00 million
Strategic Agendas Inclusive economic growth
Drivers of Change Gender Equity and Mainstreaming
Governance and capacity development
Knowledge solutions
Sector / Subsector

Education / Education sector development - Secondary

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming Gender equity
Description

Cambodia has experienced rapid growth from 2011 to 2019 with its gross domestic product (GDP) expanding by an average of 7.6% per year. Structural transformation contributed to the country's impressive growth. In 2020, agriculture's share in GDP dropped to 22.8% from 34.6% in 2011, while industry's share increased to 34.7% from 22.1% during the same period. The service sector's share to GDP remained significant at 36.2% in 2020, albeit a slight decrease from 37.5% in 2011. The government's strategic vision of shifting its economy to a broad-based, industrial, and technology-oriented economy has increased private sector investment in the country, which in turn has increased the demand for high quality human resources, especially in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) field. However, Cambodia's education system is unable to keep up with demand, and skills gaps remain significant. In order to improve productivity through equitable human capital participation and to enhance its competitiveness, Cambodia needs to equip its human resources with the 21st century skills, knowledge, and competencies required by an inclusive knowledge-based economy.

Despite modest improvements in secondary education enrolment and completion since 2016, Cambodia remains substantially behind its neighbors. Upper secondary education (USE) gross enrolment rate was only 28.9% in school year (SY) 2019 20. USE students' dropout rates remained high at 16.9% (female: 14.8%) in SY2018 19, while completion rates were 24.2% (female: 27.3%) in SY2019 20.

The proposed project is part of ADB's strategically sequenced support to harness the transformational potential of USE and open inclusive and equitable pathways for students' advancement in Cambodia. The USE Sector Development Program (USESDP) (2016 2021) supports the government's efforts to increase access to USE by providing key inputs USE schools and classrooms, teachers, textbooks, and teachers' guides in underserved areas and addressing demand-side constraints through student scholarships. The project provided the policy framework for USE quality improvement through the STEM education policy, comprehensive teacher policy, and K-12 curriculum framework. The Second USESDP (2018 2024) focuses on quality-enhancing measures, upgrading facilities and equipment in SRSs, SRS network schools, and the National Institute of Education, MoEYS' premier USE teacher training institute. It also supports the training of STEM teachers and teacher-candidates on STEM subject knowledge, curriculum, and assessment. Policy actions include developing the learner assessment framework, continuous professional development framework for teachers and school directors, and teacher career pathways. The proposed project builds on these two programs by deepening reforms and expanding interventions to strengthen the USE STEM education implementation. It seeks to boost outcomes to provide a critical mass of USE STEM graduates needed by the knowledge-based economy. The proposed project will also provide high quality teaching-learning environments through upgrading facilities and learning resources of selected USE schools; integrate digital technology in STEM learning spaces; and strengthen USE STEM teaching through continuous professional development of teachers. The project will set minimum service standards to ensure equity in resource allocation across all USSs. ADB will further provide TA on EdTech in Cambodia to design possible technology-enabled innovations. ADB has been providing policy, technical, and knowledge support to the government on key USE reforms, including the preparation of the CAMSEB 2030.

Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

The project will be aligned with the following impact: high quality human resources for a knowledge-based society developed The outcome. The outcome will be effectiveness of upper secondary education improved.

Output 1: Equitable access to standard-based upper secondary education expanded. The project will develop minimum service standards for USE inputs and outputs to ensure equitable resource allocation across all USSs and to inform planning and quality assurance. It will provide (i) selected USSs with facilities, resources, and support to meet the minimum service standards; (ii) selected SRS network schools with standardized facilities and resources of a secondary resource center, including science and multipurpose classrooms, libraries, EdTech packages, and learning resources (footnote 6), with gender-responsive teaching and learning spaces and environment; and (iii) selected SRS network schools with innovative digital technology such as artificial intelligence and augmented reality. It will also develop a five-year secondary education medium-term expenditure framework which conforms to minimum service standards, and factors in resource requirements to meet the diverse needs of female and male learners and teachers, and improve USE enrolment, completion, and learning outcomes. The project will expand career guidance and counselling in USSs to support the learners.

Output 2: Quality of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics teaching and learning strengthened. The project will support USE STEM teachers from the SRSs and SRS network schools, and STEM teacher-candidates from selected teacher education institutions, through continuous professional development to meet the teacher professional development standards. It will ensure participation of a high proportion of eligible female teachers in the training activities. Trainings will focus on effective and innovative teaching strategies, integrating technology into STEM teaching, and raising pedagogical content knowledge to boost 21st century teaching skills. Pre-service teacher-candidates will be trained to design and develop digital content to improve student learning. The project will foster innovations in (i) teacher training, lesson plans, and various digital materials that are locally contextualized for Cambodia, best utilizing available technologies; (ii) learning contents that are gamified, interactive, and engaging, and integrated with assessments; (iii) assessment practices to measure student learning and mastery; and (iv) newly renovated labs and makerspaces (3D printing and modeling, robotics, etc.) that align with the curriculum and the students' unique needs and promote students' creativity and innovation to develop technology solutions. The project will also support EdTech-enabled practices for teachers, including (i) a learner management system for teacher training and professional development, with platforms to track progress and outcomes; and (ii) a teacher knowledge management platform for the teacher community to share knowledge and best practices beyond social media platforms.

Output 3: Institutional and school leadership and management capacity strengthened. The project will support continuous professional development of school directors to fully implement school-based management and enable them to (i) lead their teachers, communities, and other key partners in a continuous school improvement process; (ii) serve as instructional leaders for teaching and learning improvement; (iii) establish learning action cells to serve as school-based communities of practice; and (iv) mobilize resources and strengthen partnerships with the parents and local governments to support the delivery of quality educational services. It will expand partnerships and linkages on STEM education with (i) tertiary education, polytechnic institutes, and private schools on continuous professional development and curriculum enhancement; and (ii) industry and business on curriculum, standards development, and pilot joint delivery programs, including a target for female participation. It will establish links with the global learning community through international collaborative project-based learning. A selected group of MoEYS technical and education specialists, teacher educators, education staff of provincial and district offices, and school directors will be trained on effective plan and project implementation, gender-based analyses, and results-based monitoring and evaluation.

Impact High quality human resources for a knowledge-based society developed (Cambodia Secondary Education Blueprint 2030)
Outcome Effectiveness of upper secondary education improved
Outputs

Equitable access to standards-based upper secondary education expanded

Quality of STEM teaching and learning strengthened

Institutional and school leadership and management capacity strengthened

Geographical Location Nation-wide
Safeguard Categories
Environment B
Involuntary Resettlement C
Indigenous Peoples B
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects
Involuntary Resettlement
Indigenous Peoples
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design
During Project Implementation
Responsible ADB Officer Perez, Lynnette
Responsible ADB Department Southeast Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division Human and Social Development Division, SERD
Executing Agencies
Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport
148 Norodom Blvd.
Phnom Penh
Kingdom of Cambodia
Timetable
Concept Clearance 09 Jul 2021
Fact Finding 22 Nov 2021 to 03 Dec 2021
MRM 28 Jan 2022
Approval -
Last Review Mission -
Last PDS Update 09 Jul 2021

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