By Mr. Ngam Kimsorn
Global Chamber Member, based in Cambodia
The City of Siem Reap, a World Heritage Site, is one of the major tourist destinations in Southeast Asia, if not of the world. There you can find Angkor Wat and the surrounding temple complexes (Bayon, Banteay Srei, etc) which are a magnet to approximately 4 million visitors each year, and the numbers are growing every year.
As a consequence, Siem Reap benefits greatly from the income generated by international tourism and is currently attracting major investors in the hospitality and related industries (hotels, guest houses, restaurants, clubs. etc.) in order to provide quality services to its visitors. These industries have employed thousands, not only in Siem Reap, but in other provinces as well.
Locals realize that those proficient in English communication have the best opportunity to acquire and hold good jobs with opportunities of a higher salary. Because most of the investors and the tourist industry as a whole require multitudes of workers proficient in English, this has encouraged thousands of parents to search for quality English-language schools for their children.
Many preschools in Cambodia have recently been opened in both the private and public sectors, but without a focus on creative learning based on each child’s unique learning modalities. In addition, some general barriers can be found on these schools:
• Schools location are far from the parents work place
• These schools do not offer an opportunity for children to learn a second language until secondary school, missing the opportunity to teach children at their prime for second language acquisition.
• Khmer government schools offer instruction only in the Khmer language
• Number of students in government classes are usually between 35 and 60.
• Teaching methodology is limited and based primarily on the rote- learning/memorization method in which the Khmer classroom teachers have been taught.
• Other private schools use similar teaching methods and rarely employ native English-speaking teachers who are trained in the latest methodologies.
• Parents are not informed how to support their children’s education.
• Exiting schools do not utilize educational networks to promote exchange visits to motivate the most capable students.
For that reason, a different educational approach is emerging in the country. This is the case of the California Language Institute project, which main focus is to establish an all-English school next to the Kralunch Market, where more than 1600 shopkeepers are housed. The market, which has recently been renovated, will soon open and is an ideal area for the California Language Institute to establish an English school, only 200 meters from the market, so parents will feel comfortable knowing their children are safely studying near their workplace. The school will be located 5 kilometers away from Angkor Wat and 2 kilometers from the Siem Reap City Center.
The main goals of the California Language Institute (CLI) are the following:
• To give Khmer children an opportunity to grow in English as they first enter school at age 3 to 5, adding a grade level each year.
• To provide a warm, safe and supportive environment that promotes native-like English language fluency combined with step-by-step concept development, a program not available in Cambodian schools.
• It will also integrate a volunteer program to bring additional English voices to each classroom.
• The curriculum will be developed based on a blend of recognized early childhood principles, the Montessori Method and English language acquisition in a natural setting.
• Guarantee that 90% of learning time will be spent in English with children speaking English more than their teachers.
• Provide basic computer skills as the children are ready.
• Maintain a maximum of 25 students per class.
• Consult with Advisors on a regular basis to support teacher and student activities, including the Montessori Method and “Action English’.
• Hire only native and near-native English-speaking teachers with professional experience.
• Periodically, parents will invited to review their role in the educational process and receive feedback about their children studies and achievement.
• Build and participate in networks with local and international schools and promote mutual visits and sharing.
• Track the student performance to identify the strength and weakness of each student and the curriculum.
• Evaluate internal programs systematically utilizing well-recognized consultants to ensure quality of teaching and curriculum materials.
To achieve the above, California Language Institute is currently seeking capital to initiate the above program. It is expected to be self-supporting by the end of the second year.
If you are interested in the opportunities of this project...
Please contact Mr. Ngam Kimsorn – Project Management: firstname.lastname@example.org