NGOs Call for Greater Investment in Early Learning

National Reading Day, celebrated across Cambodia to promote the habit of reading, will be celebrated for the third time on 11th March.

To mark the occasion, three leading education NGOs in Cambodia – Save the Children, Sipar and World Vision International Cambodia – have released a statement calling for more budget investment and improved policies to support Cambodia’s youngest learners.

The Royal Government of Cambodia has committed to improve Early Childhood Care and Development services across the country by adopting the National Policy on Early Childhood Care and Development in 2010 with accompanying Action Plan 2014 – 2018, as well as the 2017 Sub-Decree on the Management of Community Pre-Schools.

However, much of the energy around ECCD programming has focused on children aged 4-6 years old only.

According to Mr. Hok Sothik, Country Director of Sipar, this leaves a critical gap in provision of services and learning materials for the youngest learners – those aged from 0 – 6 years old.

“Developing good quality age-appropriate resources for Cambodia’s next generation is of critical importance,” said Mr. Sothik. “Investing in ECCD is one of the smartest investments a country can make to address inequality, break the cycle of poverty, and improve outcomes later in life.”

Jason Evans, National Director of World Vision International Cambodia, emphasized the need for more and better quality learning materials for the youngest learners. “Global research shows that when young children have access to age-appropriate reading materials, it can have positive impact on their language development, vocabulary, eagerness to read, and success in beginning reading in school,” said Mr. Evans. “However, most of the books currently available in Khmer language are not suitable for young children, in terms of vocabulary, themes, and appearance.

“On the occasion of the 3rd National Reading Day on 11 March, 2018, we would like to congratulate the Cambodian Government on the significant progress made in increasing access to and quality of Early Childhood Care and Development services in Cambodia,” concluded Elizabeth Pearce, Country Director of Save the Children in Cambodia. “We would also like to highlight the need for further efforts to promote the learning and literacy of young children. Therefore, we call for the government to increase resources and investment for development of age-appropriate reading and play materials for children 0-6 years of age, and especially to increase access to reading resources for young children in rural, remote, and hard to reach areas. We also call on the government to develop national guidelines on book levelling for publishers, to ensure that all books published for first readers (aged 0-3) and early readers (aged 4 to Grade 3) help the next generation to learn and develop to their fullest potential.”

For further information, pleases contact:

Mr. Huy Khy, Senior Policy Advocacy Advisor, Save the Children

Tel: +855 (0)12 903 707 or Email:

Dr. Jill Reimer, Education & Life Skills Technical Lead, World Vision International Cambodia  

Tel: +855 (0)69 666 385 or Email:

Mr. Lim Menghour, Fundraising and Communication Assistant, Sipar

Tel: +855 (0)15 757 680 / (0) 92 964 141 or Email: