The Jesuits and their partners have been supporting the education of Khmer youth for thirty years, first in the refugee camps in Thailand under Jesuit Refugee Service and since 1991 in Cambodia under Jesuit Service Cambodia. Now the Jesuits and their partners, after many years of discernment, are starting to implement a new Jesuit education project, in the remote Banteay Meanchey province, in order to help other secondary schools in the province to move from rote-learning to enquiry-based learning with an emphasis on applied science education and formation for compassionate service of others. The new project will include the following four components;
A Community Learning Centre (CLC) that will serve the local population with remedial teaching for weak students at primary or secondary levels, vocational training for young adults, literacy and health-care training for working adults etc.
A small-sized Primary and Kindergarten School (two classes in each grade) that will enable a small number of young people reach a good standard of Jesuit education at grade six so that the secondary school will be able to accept many more students but educate them also from that standard to the highest possible standard at grade twelve.
A medium-sized Secondary School (four classes in each grade) that will be the main focus of the education project providing the highest quality Jesuit education possible with simple materials in order to prepare young people to become people who are happy to help others. This school will also have a multi-purpose hall.
A Teacher Resource Centre (TRC). This centre will enable teachers to live or stay on site either short-term or long-term and have practical experience of new teaching methods and pedagogy so that they will be more effective later in their own schools. By net-working with the other primary and middle school Teacher Trainer Colleges, this centre will provide in-service training to qualified teachers both public and private and pre-service training to unqualified private teachers.
While these schools will not charge fees, most families will be invited to make a modest family contribution to the costs of education of their children. This will ensure the long-term financial sustainability of the project.
Nevertheless two scholarship funds have been established, one for girls and one for boys, to ensure that the school can accept at least 20% of students who come from deprived backgrounds where a family contribution is not possible.