Due to increasing rates of COVID19 infection in Cambodia, primary schools were closed from March 2021 through the end of the school year. In Kampong Thom, Kampot, and Kep, the USAID-funded and RTI-implemented All Children Reading-Cambodia project rolled out comprehensive activities to support learning at home. While these interventions were implemented successfully, students had still missed nearly an entire year of explicit reading instruction. When schools reopened, they, and their teachers, would need intensive and targeted support to help make up for lost learning and to sustain gains under the National Early Grades Reading Program, Komar Rien Komar Cheh.
To help inform this support, All Children Reading conducted a “temperature check” study with the aim of understanding teachers’ current status, well-being, concerns, capacity gaps, and plans for reading instruction when schools reopen; as well as measurement of students’ levels of reading proficiency, vis a vis where they are expected to be reading according to the curriculum. This study sought to better understand teacher’s perceptions around returning to school after prolonged closures, and how they plan to support students, in order to strategically target support that is both in line with best practice and responsive to where teachers are.
A purposeful sample of 100 schools was drawn from two provinces, Kampong Thom (50 schools) and Kampot (50 schools). Schools were randomly sampled, proportional to each district. Data will be presented from 200 phone-based interviews conducted with grade 1 and 2 teachers, 100 in-person school director interviews, and 1,600 levelled student assessments conducted with grade 1 (800) and grade 2 (800) students.
Findings are presented on the following:
•Teachers’ levels of confidence returning to school and implementing the national Komar Rien Komar Cheh reading package, and specific areas where they still struggle
•Teachers’ concerns and priorities for students’ learning in the coming year
•Teachers’ plans to help students catch-up on missed content and skills, vis a vis their approach to curriculum coverage
•Students’ reading levels in grade 1 and grade 2 at the end of a protracted school closure for most of the year, relative to where they should be per the curriculum