Province and education overview
We are a learning community passionate about developing, inspiring and guiding our youth on their journey to adult hood and raising the bar on achievable educational levels for their circumstances. This has to be viewed with the understanding that many families have no permanent shelter or adequate food & often with only one parent or orphaned with Aunts & Uncles striving to provide along with their own large family’s needs. Our sponsorship program seeks to go some way in addressing these needs with inclusions of rice compensation, to the family for the lack of earnings while the child is attending school if we assess that this is a necessity for that family. Sponsors can feel comfortable that we report monthly by email to them on ‘ their childs’ progress and attendance.
‘Child labour’ seems harsh by western standards, but here with families of 6-8 children it is often the difference of 1 meal a day or nothing for the family. The mother is often in poor health or even dies due to complications of normal childbirth, with little or no access to what westerners would consider basic medical care.
Surviving is their primary necessity with good reason. It is not uncommon that parents require all their young children to forage for bottles, cans etc or even steal in order for them to supplement their family income to provide one meal a day – you see very young children daily with sacks over their shoulders with even younger siblings in tow – heading off around the streets and beach. They become accomplished survivors and some approach tourists to eat their left over meals, sharing with their siblings. Some more resourceful ones beg the tourists to commit to paying for them to attend English school and bring them up to Regent school to enroll them. We find they are generally very eager and intelligent despite their desperate lifestyles and they embrace the opportunity to make changes to affect their future. Sponsors are kept abreast of any medical or other family issues affecting their sponsored child’s ability to attend school regularly and study. Children of all ages are very committed to learning & are very conscientious with all levels of their education.
Sihanouk Ville, originally called Kampong Som, is situated 240km south west of Phnom Penh. The population is some 155,700 with 78,750 females. Analysis of the literate population as a whole reveals that approx 56% have not completed primary level, 1.0% have acquired literacy without passing any grade, 27% have completed primary level, 11.9 % have completed lower secondary levels,. Secondary level qualification form 3.6% & only .05% had completed beyond secondary level of education. Among females, 64.3% have not completed primary level whereas among males the corresponding percentage is 49.4%
The number of economically active people in the province is 61,460 of which 26,126 or 43.5% are females. While education is the obvious key to improving these statistics across the board and Khmer school is free – Tuition fees are a requirement and uniforms, shoes, bags, books pencils etc are totally unaffordable to the wider population. Combine this with the fact that if children are at school they aren’t working and contributing to the family income for basics such as rice, and you have the primary reason that children continue to be uneducated in this day & age.
At Regent School we celebrate freedom and our emerging youth - their effort, their independence, their passion and their achievements. Established in 1995 by a group of Khmer and foreigner teachers in Sihanouk Ville, we work to improve the well being of children, to ensure rights to survival, development, protection and participation. Our main approach is to encourage and support families, offer an extended English education to the wider community and a sponsorship program for poor or orphaned children with the objective of maximising all students’ potential and "Living and Learning Together". We particularly understand that orphaned, poor or ‘beach children’ learn differently from the more ordered society, and require a carefully structured curriculum to optimise the learning experience and support their special needs – eg ensure basic needs like daily rice requirements, school uniforms, school bags, text books, pencils and school bus transportation. Family issues like divorce, drug/alcohol usage & family health problems all impact on a child’s ability to attend school & maximize their learning capacity.
The most important resource in a school is the teaching staff. At Regent School, all teachers have consciously elected to take on this teaching and mentoring role. Often coming from a challenging childhood themselves they know how to challenge students academically and how to teach them in a way they understand.
Staff Professional Development
Staff members at all levels of the School are encouraged to continue their further education with many aspiring to build on their Diplomas and Batchelor of Education status to attain their Master of Education.
Our formative appraisal system encourages active reflection and action research into teaching practice. It is pleasing to see more of our staff enthusiastically seeking to supplement their teaching material and practices with their own ongoing education, and as a result, encourage their students to maximize their own potential.