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Cambodian Literacy Project calls on international tourism industry for support

Written By vibykhmer on Wednesday, September 9, 2009 | 6:48 AM

http://www.traveldailynews.com/
Vicky Karantzavelou - Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The newly established Cambodian Literacy Project has chosen World Literacy Day to call on the international travel industry to get behind its efforts to help eradicate illiteracy in Cambodia.

Announcing the commencement of an initial Cambodian Literacy Project program involving up to 250 grade one children in three remote primary schools in rural Cambodia, principal Brett Morgan said the ultimate aim of the organisation was to expand this opportunity to over 100,000 children in multiple grades in schools across Cambodia by 2015.

Tourism industry backing to date includes Korean Airlines, Ho Chi Minh City-based Trails of Indochina and Heritage Lines (MV Jayavarman) and Brisbane-based The Adventure Traveller, all of which Mr Morgan said had pledged assistance with fund raising for the project.

“Two thirds of the world’s 1.6 billion illiterate population resides in the Asia-Pacific and Cambodia is one of the worst in the region for literacy standards,” Mr Morgan said. “More than eight per cent of all rural and remote teachers have had no formal schooling, 75 per cent of all teachers have gone without teaching handbooks for four years and it’s frightening to think that only 47 per cent of all Cambodian children actually complete primary school.

“While there have been great efforts by many organisations to build schools and encourage participation rates, up until now little has been done to fix the literacy situation in Cambodian schools. HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Dengue fever kill thousands of Cambodians every year and it is acknowledged that the best prevention for these and the eradication of many other health problems is via implementing education and literacy programs at grassroots level. Cambodian tourism has long been a huge money spinner for the international travel industry and its time to give something back. And giving something back is easy, anyone can help and it’s as simple going online at www.cambodialiteracyproject.com and buying a sheet of coloured cardboard for $0.50 cents or a pair of schoolchild’s shoes for $4.00. We are more than happy to hear from anyone wishing to get involved with this program.”

Mr Morgan said the CLE (Concentrated Language Encounter) system has been developed in Australia at Queensland University in Brisbane and is currently taught in over 10 countries.

These include Thailand where the education department, having trialed the system on a pilot basis with marked success, has now adopted the system for all grade 1-6 students on a national basis.

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