According to Savong.com, of Cambodia’s 14.4 million people, 50% of children are under the age of 22, the burgeoning age of education for most in other parts of the world. However, only 1.6% of the Cambodia Government’s budget is set aside for education, much lower than the average standard of 5.5% – 6.4%.
In Phnom Penh’s Stung Meanchey municipal, the Cambodian Children’s Fund (CCF) is set to open a new eco-friendly school in the Stung Meanchey area, one of the many efforts by NGOs in the area to provide an affordable or free education for the children living on the former dumpsite. The school, funded by Velcro Companies, and designed by New York’s COOKFOX Architects on a pro-bono basis, will be set on providing a free education centered around science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) for between 300 and 500 students.
Speaking of STEM, Cambodia’s first Science & Engineering festival, which was held in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, drew crowds amounting to nine thousand people. It was evident that the festival manifested a great interest in STEM, with a notable influence on young Cambodians to be the country’s next scientists and engineers.
Riding on the growing STEM culture in Cambodia, the five storey Neeson-Cripps Academy (NCA) will feature the latest sustainability technologies and will have 20 rooms which include eight classrooms, two science labs, computer labs, a multi-purpose production room and many more.
Minister for Education, Youth and Sports, Hang Chuon Naron, expressed his gratitude for Neeson and Robert Cripps, the former chairman of Velcro Companies, for their efforts in helping the children of Stung Meanchey attain a high-quality education for free; something which the executive director of CCF, Scott Neeson has high confidence in. He believes that the construction of the $4 million education establishment is an exciting milestone for the NGO’s 11 year journey as this will be a significant part in helping the children of the Stung Meanchey community to build a clear, career path towards the STEM scene in the future.