Ministry of Education secures 7 vehicles under $17m South Korean funding

Ceremonial handover of Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) vehicles to the Ministry of Education on June 8. KOICA

The South Korean government, through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), donated seven vehicles to facilitate two programs at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports at the Royal University of Phnom Penh ( RUPP) on June 7.

The event, chaired by Heang Sine, undersecretary of state at the ministry, was organized under two programs, with a total grant of $17 million, which was funded by the South Korean government.

The programs consist of a business incubation system project between Cambodian universities and industries, and a school feeding program using community agriculture.

Also present at the event were Hyunjun Rho, Country Manager of KOICA and Chet Chealy, Rector of RUPP.

In a speech at the event, Sine said two vehicles will be donated to the National Incubation Center of Cambodia to facilitate the working process of new business incubation projects.

His ministry and three provincial departments of education will receive the remaining five vehicles to be used for the school feeding programme.

“The school feeding program is conducted in Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Thom and Pursat while the business incubation training takes place between universities and industries in Cambodia,” Sine said.

The business incubation project is part of an $8 million grant from South Korea that was implemented by the Korea Productivity Center (KPC) with the cooperation of the ministry and RUPP from 2019 to 2023 .

“The project aims to create a new business incubation system and commercialization network in Cambodia by enhancing the competitiveness of new startups,” KOICA said in a statement.

In addition, new incubation programs will be supported so that they can contribute to industrial diversification and help achieve sustainable development.

Regarding community-based school feeding programs, KOICA noted that a grant of US$10 million has been allocated for five years, from 2020 to 2024.

“The project was implemented in 272 primary schools with a total of 29,032 students in Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Thom and Pursat provinces,” the agency explained.

In the event, Sine expressed his gratitude to the South Korean government for donating $17 million to the programs since 2019.

He said the ministry has incorporated the indicators for the school feeding program and business incubation training into the Education Strategic Plan 2019-2023.

“Besides the school feeding program which was implemented in 2020, Cambodia also became a full state member of the Alliance for School Feeding Implementation in August of the year last,” Sine said.

The program helped children from poor communities, who suffered from food insecurity and malnutrition, to access better health services and education in primary school.

Between 2021 and 2022, the government has expanded the scope of the school feeding program from 205 schools to 290 schools in nine provinces, although Cambodia faces challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The Joint School Feeding Transition Strategy has been endorsed by the government and the World Food Program to ensure better implementation of the 2023 social care system, accountability, sustainability and environment to 2028.” Sin said.