Why education matters to everybody, especially Raintree

Recently, we've noticed that education has been the centre of many activities and events in the city. From various schools to public and private organisations, there has been a lot of energy in trying to improve education in Phnom Penh through various initiatives.

This comes at a time where the spotlight has been increasingly cast upon schools in the Kingdom, with recent news that government funding for the education sector will be increased by more than 35% in 2017. During the recent education forum, His Excellency Dr. Hang Chuon Naron, Minister of Education, also emphasised a greater need for soft skills and experiential, project-based learning.

Such events are critical to building momentum to innovate new solutions within the education sector. For educators and non-educators, here are a few of the initiatives happening in the city by a multitude of organisations:

Startup Weekend Education Phnom Penh

Sponsored by Google for Entrepreneurs, Startup Weekend Education Phnom Penh took place over a weekend in mid-September last year. Bringing together participants from a diverse range of backgrounds, with a common goal of impacting the education sector, teams spent 54 hours of their weekend at Raintree’s Canopy sharing ideas and building products in the education/edtech space. Aspiring entrepreneurs and youths who attended were able to prototype their innovative concepts and push their creativity in a conducive yet informal environment.

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TechCamp H2.0 Cambodia

Later in the year, TechCamp returned to Cambodia for its annual technology conference, bringing together international and local tech experts along with NGOs and CSOs across the region. Hosted by the US Embassy, the two-day event included 50 Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) members. Coming together to collaborate at Raintree, these youths acted as representatives of countries across the Mekong Delta, where they were able to develop technology-based solutions to support healthy waterways in the Lower Mekong.

GBSN Experiential Learning Summit

Hosted by the Global Business School Network, in conjunction with the National University of Management in Phnom Penh, over 60 national and international leaders in business education gathered to look at how business schools can be be better positioned with the industry to offer experiential learning opportunities to their students. Our co-founder, Zoë Ng, was invited to share her thoughts on how to foster stronger relationships between management education institutions and employers. During the panel, Zoë shared how having more structured dialogue could establish stronger relationships between institutions and SMEs to provide both sides with opportunities to design future programmes.

IBC Education Forum

The International Business Chamber, in collaboration with various partners, hosted their education forum in Q4 last year. The conference focused on building cooperation and dialogue between the private sector and the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport. As a moderator, Raintree shared some thoughts on vocational education practices in Cambodia today. The annual event, dedicated to finding a solution to the skills gap amongst Cambodian high school and university graduates, was opened by the Minister of Education, His Excellency Dr. Hang Chuon Naron.

Cambodia STEM Hub & Little Magazine Launch

In an age where tech needs are ever-increasing, Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (collectively STEM) have been a curriculum priority for governments globally. Two new STEM projects, supported by The British Embassy - Cambodia STEM Hub and Little Scientists Magazine were launched at Raintree’s Canopy. The presentation included remarks from His Excellency Dr. Hang Chuon Naron, Minister of MoEYS Cambodia, Lord Puttnam, the Prime Minister’s UK Trade and Cultural Envoy to Cambodia, and British Ambassador to Cambodia, Bill Longhurst. STEM Hub will serve as a centre to inspire youth for further exploring the subjects, by running a series of events sharing success stories of Cambodian professionals working in STEM-related fields. Little Scientists Magazine is a monthly bi-lingual magazine geared towards primary-aged children, with content fostering interest in STEM education. Both fun initiatives hope to support the national STEM agenda over the coming year.

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These events along with several programmes from diverse stakeholders, are generating the dialogue needed for increasing awareness and engagement in Cambodia's education system.

At Raintree, we are very excited to contribute in whatever ways we can, and boost the energy in this constantly evolving sector. If you would like to engage in any way, we'd love to chat and are always looking for more programme partners to work with.