Situational analysis of children with disabilities in Cambodia

Report – April 2017. UNICEF and Nossal Institute

Extract reads………….the Royal Government of Cambodia is moving towards inclusive education and increasing opportunities for children with disabilities to access mainstream schools. There are a number of initiatives that were reported. As well as the work of Krousar Thmey described above, there are a number of other positive examples of organisations working with government and communities to progress transition towards inclusive education. For example, the NGO Capacity Building for Disability Cooperation (CABDICO) is working with the Inclusion Department of the Provincial Office of Education, Youth and Sports (PoEYS) to build the capacity of teachers to teach children with disabilities within mainstream schools.  The NGO Cambodia Development Mission for Disability (CDMD) is working with schools to increase their understanding of disability and promote children with disabilities’ access to mainstream schools. Respondents stressed that expanding the focus of these initiatives to enhance teachers’ capacity to include children with intellectual disabilities is a vital next step.

The Khmer NGO for Education (KHEN) operates in two districts in Battambang to promote the rights of children and access to education. KHEN work closely with key stakeholders, such as commune councils, the National Committee for Sub-National Democratic Development (NCDD), and parents to improve awareness of, and support for, access to education for children with disabilities. KHEN have established a number of community schools for children with and without disabilities. Transport and food are provided. To support children with disabilities in the classroom, KHEN allow a family member to accompany a child with disabilities to school. Some other education service providers have been piloting the provision of teacher assistants in schools. Sustaining this is said to be challenging due to the difficulty in remunerating assistants at a level that can retain qualified and motivated people.

KHEN also supports access to health and rehabilitation through the referral network established between Battambang PRC, the provincial hospital and the local children’s hospital. KHEN also work with local teachers to build confidence and the skills needed for addressing the learning needs of children with disabilities. Seventeen community schools established by KHEN have been handed over and are now run by government as mainstream schools.