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Cambodia is a developing country, so for the field of education, we still need more time to make our educational system become the good one. Moreover, during the time of developing, we get many aids from some organization in order to build school or other facilities and also to run many programs which cut down the illiteracy in Cambodia. In addition, not only the education fields that need development, other fields such as health care and other social welfare programs are also in the times that need development. UNICEF and UNESCO have run many programs in Cambodia in order to help children and also they have celebrated some special events. Moreover, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are very important for developing the country, and Education for All is also a very important goal that Cambodia have to reach in order to increase the literacy rate in the country. So, in the following paragraphs I will show you what UNICEF and UNESCO have done in Cambodia, and I will show you some important MDGs that Cambodia has to achieve in order to develop our country, and also the strategies that can help us to reach the goals of Education for All.
UNICEF is the driving force that helps build a world where the rights of every child are realized. It has the global authority to influence decision-makers, and the variety of partners at grassroots level to turn the most innovative ideas into reality. That makes it unique among world organizations, and unique among those working with the young. It believes that nurturing and caring for children are the cornerstones of human progress. Moreover, it was created with this purpose in mind, to work with others to overcome the obstacles that poverty, violence, disease and discrimination place in a child's path. Because Cambodia has the highest infant and under-five mortality rates in the region, at 97 and 141 per 1,000 live births, respectively,
UNICEF has run many programs in Cambodia. In the following, I will show two important programs that UNICEF has run in Cambodia in 2008. More than two years ago, UNICEF has run a program called "UNICEF-Supported Friends Helping Friends." sharing the problems of living with HIV/AIDS is a very difficult task to do, particularly for young children who live in remote area. At Svay Rieng Referral Hospital, children who live with HIV and their families gather once a month for 'Friends Helping Friends', a program run by the National Centre for HIV and AIDS, Dermatology and Sexually Transmitted Infections with support from various partners, including UNICEF. The most important point of joining this program is not to see the doctor, but it would rather go to meet many children who are living in similar conditions and share to each other about their problems. During the participating, the hospital staffs prepare a nutritious lunch of vegetables, rice and fruit for every child. "When they come to a group like Friends Helping Friends, they can find and meet with other families who share the same problems," says UNICEF Cambodia HIV/AIDS Head of Section Haritiana Rakotomamonjy. It also provide the sense that they are not alone, they still have many other people who care for them and who have similar problems as them, which can encourage them to live with hope and more happy than before. Moreover, at the meantime, it has run another program called "UNICEF Child-Friendly Schools." It has done in Reachea Nukol Primary School in remote Stung Treng province. It aims to provide an equal opportunity for all children within a safe and nurturing environment. Teachers and caregivers are trained to understand the children's emotional needs and encourage those children to express their idea and feeling confidently. In this sense, students will be able to learn in a positive way. To conclude, these two programs are very important for children in Cambodia. As we can see that, the first program can encourage children to lead their lives into a normal way as the other children although they are HIV-positive children. It makes them feel that they are not isolated from the other and they won't feel hopeless anymore. Moreover, the second program can improve the quality of education for children both physically and mentally.
Beside UNICEF, UNESCO also plays very important roles in development of Cambodia. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations established on 16 November 1945. It aims to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through education, science, and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and the human rights along with fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the UN Charter. In 2010, UNESCO has celebrated many special events in Cambodia. In the following, I will raise two special events that UNESCO has celebrated in Cambodia. The first one is Phnom Penh World Press Freedom Day. It is celebrated across the globe every May 3rd, representing an opportunity to commemorate the fundamental principles of press freedom and to pay solemn tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty. In Phnom Penh, We celebrated The World Press Freedom Day 2010 on the 4th of May, with a whole-day conference that UNESCO and the UN Office for Human Rights has co-organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Information and in cooperation with the Press Council of Cambodia (PCC), the Club of Cambodian Journalists (CCJ), the Cambodian Centre for Independent Media (CCIM) and the Department of Media and Communications (DMC). The celebration has been held at the National Institute of Education (NIE) and the representatives of the Cambodian Media, members of the Cambodian government, members of the donor community and NGO's, media students, and members of the Cambodian indigenous and Cham communities are the speakers in this event. The second event is the launch of the Education For All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report and EFA Global Action Week. On the 5th of May 2010, UNESCO Phnom Penh with members of Global Campaign for Education of Cambodia celebrated the EFA Global Action Week with several events. The theme of this year was Education Financing. In this event, they have conducted a series of Education Financing Workshops throughout Cambodia, and Community Level Sports Activities, as well as, a wide scale media outreach. Moreover, there was also a Launch event for the 2010 Global Monitoring Report, GMR, with approximately 120 participants from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, NGOs, donors, and UN agencies, as well as, media representatives. To sum up, we can see that these two programs are very meaningful. For the first one, it can promote the right of writing for the journalists and for the second one, it help to promote many kinds of education in Cambodia. Thus, we should keep celebrating these two events every year in order to see the development progress in Cambodia.
Besides, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight international development goals that all 192 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organizations have agreed to achieve by the year 2015 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Development_Goals). They include eradicating extreme poverty, reducing child mortality rates, fighting disease epidemics such as AIDS, and developing a global partnership for development. It aims to encourage development by improving social and economic conditions in the world's poorest countries. Actually, there are eight goals in the Millennium Development Goals, but I will raise only two main goals that related to the education which are the second and the third. The second United Nations Millennium Development Goal is to achieve Universal Primary Education, more specifically, to ensure all children everywhere, boys and girls, will be able to complete the primary education. The third goal of Millennium Development Goal is to achieve gender equality and empower women. In this goal, there are two targets. The first target is to eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education by 2005. Yet recent statistics show that for every 100 boys out of school, there are still 117 girls in the same situation. Thus, it has not been succeeded yet. The second target is to eliminate gender disparity at all levels of education by 2015 and empower women. Two-thirds of the world's 799 million illiterate adults ages 15 and over are women. Moreover, uneducated girls are vulnerable than boys to become marginalized. They are more vulnerable to be exploited.Â They are more likely to contract HIV/AIDS, which spreads twice as quickly among uneducated girls than among girls that have even some schooling. Almost two thirds of adults who are around 25 year olds and live with HIV/AIDS are women. As uneducated girls, they will be less likely to access many rights and to be able to support themselves. Women's rights and access to land, credit and education are limited not only due to legal discrimination, but also due to the subtle barriers such as their work load, mobility and low bargaining position in the household and community, which prevent them from taking advantage of their legal rights. To sum up, both goals are the great goal, but the matter is whether we can achieve them or not. As we have known that education is very bright bridge in order to eliminate poverty. Thus, if we can achieve both of these goals, we also can eliminate the poverty in our country. Hence, the government should provide any programs or mechanism in order to promote education in Cambodia and also the gender parity.
As Cambodia is a developing country, the educational system in this country is not really good. However, now we are running some educational programs and projects in order to improve the educational system in our country. Among those programs, literacy programs is very important because even though the literacy rate of Cambodia is not quite low, many people in the countryside cannot reach the school, and most girls can't go to school because of their living conditions. Moreover, nowadays there are many literacy programs that are run in Cambodia by some NGOs and other organizations. Among those programs, I see one interesting program which is run recently by an organization. Khmer Literacy is a literacy program which is run by PEPY (Protect the Earth, Protect Yourself) Organization in 2006. According to the tests show that many students in Chanleas Dai school (Siem Reap province) still cannot read and write. In that school, there is a library which is built by an NGO for a long time ago, and that library is always close. Thus, Khmer Literacy has started in projects of opening that library and make it become is place with variety of resources which are useful for children's education in December 2006. After that, in 2007, they have a talk with the director of the school, and they agree with each other to incorporate library time with the study times, which each class has to spend two hour per week in the library. In September 2008, PEPY has trained thirty-two teachers, and they have created a Khmer Literacy Camp which brought together the trained teachers, students, faculty, and community members to focus on increasing literacy for a week. Moreover, PEPY have created many additional literacy classes for every student in English and Computer programs. To conclude, this program is very useful for Cambodian children to improve their knowledge. Moreover, it can increase the literacy rate in Cambodia. In my opinion, according the helps of many organizations, the educational system in Cambodia in the near future will be much better than it is nowadays.
The last point is a very important program that we plan to achieve by 2015. Education for All (EFA) is a program that makes the education become compulsory for every Cambodian children, and all Cambodian children at least have to finish the basic education which grade nine in secondary high school. In order to achieve this plan, Cambodia has created many specific operational strategies. Among those strategies, I will raise two important strategies. The most important strategy for achieving the EFA is to ensure the right of all Cambodian children to complete a basic education of good quality. Children have right to education, it is absolutely true, but most of the time, some children in the countryside don't get access to that right because of their living conditions which force them to work or do housework instead of going to schools for they don't have enough money to pay for the school fee. Moreover, most of the schools in countryside don't provide good quality of the education to students because they don't have enough teachers or other resources. Thus, government plays very important roles in ensuring the children's right to education, and provides more resources to the schools in the country, in order to ensure the quality of the education. The second strategy is to eliminate gender inequality in education, in order to achieve the fifth goals of EFA, which is to eliminate gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005, and achieving gender equality in education by 2015, with a focus on ensuring girls' full and equal access to and achievement in basic education of good quality. Even though most girls in the city can fully access to the education, many girls in the countryside are hard to access to the education because in the countryside many families still think that girls' education is not important like boy for girls will become housewife when they are matured or married, so they don't need much education. Moreover, because of the family condition, some girls have to go to sell the vegetable or other things at the market, and some of them have to do the housework, so they don't have time for studying.
To sum up, to achieve the EFA in Cambodia by 2015 is not an easy task to do because we are living in a developing country; we need more time to improve our educational system. Moreover, most people in the countryside are difficult to get access the education of good quality, and most of them care about their living conditions more than the education of their children.
To conclude, UNICEF has done a very good job in helping Cambodian children who live with HIV/AIDS, and UNESCO has play a very important role in celebrating many special events that we never have done it before. Moreover, MDGs and EFA goals are very important goals that we have reach all of them in order to develop our country to be one of the developed countries in the future. However, achieve these goals are so tough for Cambodia since it is a developing countries and our educational systems are still low.