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Project report

Teacher livelihoods program, Siem Reap Cambodia , RUN BY: The PEPY Ride | STATUS: COMPLETED

Teaching under a tree, Chaleas Dai Primary School. Photo by: PEPY Ride

This project is 100% Funded



AUD 6,910

Raised from 2,264 people

In 2008-2009, Footprints funded the Teacher Livelihood Project (TLP) program by  donating approximately 4,200 US dollars to support food provision, training, and evaluation of 10 teachers at Chanleas Dai Primary School.

Project Needs:

 The quality of teaching in Cambodia  remains poor, with low teacher attendance, low teacher motivation, and a lack of training and resources among teachers and administrators.   With no functioning accountability systems in place to ensure teachers even attend their classes, and no rewards for quality teaching, most teachers report that they are de- motivated, inadequately compensated, and have insufficient training and resources to do their jobs well.  

 During the first years of our work in Chanleas Dai, PEPY staff noted that most teachers were not present at school between 40 and 60% of their scheduled work hours.  This reality was not captured in official government statistics, which oftentimes reported 100% teacher attendance.  For students studying only 4 hours a day in primary school, this meant that actual classroom time averaged about 1.5-2.5 hours per day of real instruction.  PEPY’s early efforts at improving access to and quality of education highlighted that improving teacher’s livelihoods, coupled with quality teacher training are necessary aspects for a successful education programs in the area.  

In year one of the TAP Program, we provided training, evaluations, and year-end cash awards for consistent attendance and exceptional performance of teachers.  However, we found that in the absence of regular monthly support, teachers were still not attending with regularity.  In year two, with funding from Footprints, we have converted our program to include monthly food support for teachers which has proven to significantly improve teacher classroom hours.

Overview: Teacher Livelihoods Project

 The Teacher Livelihood Project (TLP) budget of 4,210 USD covers monthly rice and cooking oil support for the 10 teachers and administrators at Chanleas Dai primary school.  According to a policy developed in collaboration with teachers and administrators, all teachers with over 90% attendance per month receive in-kind food support of approximately 30 dollars/month.  This amount is typically equivalent to the monthly salary of a base-level teacher, and also provides the quantity of staple food items needed to feed one individual for one month.  

Coupled with food support, monthly meetings, individual and group trainings, and teacher evaluations are also part of the TLP.  Monthly meetings focus on shared problems and accomplishments, challenges to student retention, or new resources available.  Trainings are developed on the basis of teacher needs and government policies.  

Project Outcomes, 2008-2009

 In July 2009, over 450 students completed Grades 1-6 at Chanleas Dai primary school. The TLP Program supported the 8 teachers, Assistant School Director, and School Director who work in the school, serving Kindergarten through Grade 6.  

 1. Teacher Attendance

In the 2007-2008 school year (a year where no food support was given), we calculated teacher attendance based on daily reports due to PEPY staff from November-March, and using a punch card system from April-July.  On average, teacher attendance documented through the reports/punch card system was 53% (ranging from an individual annual average low of 34% to a high of 91%). As the reporting system during the early part of the year was more time-intensive for teachers, these numbers are likely underestimates of actual attendance.  However, we know that attendance was still relatively low.  During the months of May and June 2008, when the punch card system was in place, and we saw the highest monthly averages, we still had an average of 72% teacher attendance.

In the 2008-2009 school year, attendance was calculated on the basis of a punch card system and checked with school director records.  All teachers with one exception (a part-time teacher) had an average of over 90% attendance over the course of the year, with an overall average of 93% attendance.  At the outset of the program, in November and December several teachers did not receive monthly food support due to low attendance.    With the exception of April (the time of Khmer new Year, when many teachers take longer vacations with family) every teacher attended more than 90% of classes each month, and therefore received rice after the first month of the program.

Though the food support program is successful at raising teacher attendance, we believe the biggest strides made through TLP can be attributed to the motivational aspects of investment and training provided in coordination with food support.  

2. Teacher Training

PEPY offered several trainings to teachers throughout the year including subjects like Mathematics Pedagogy, Khmer Literacy Teaching Methods, Kindergarten Techniques, Basic Pedagogy, Child to Child Teaching Methods, Teaching About Hygiene, and regular English classes.   To offer these seminars we partnered with BETT, Caring for Cambodia, Royal University of Phnom Penh, the Child to Child Trust, and the District and Province levels of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.  

3. Teacher Evaluations

Representatives of the Ministry of Education at the District, Province and Central level were also invited to perform evaluations of the primary school teachers.  Representatives from the Ministry of Education in Phnom Penh spent three days in Chanleas Dai in June 2009 evaluating teachers’ individual performance, giving them feedback, and offering specific recommendations to each teacher based on Ministry standards of Child Friendly School Policies. 

4. Student performance and retention.

Because of a lack of standardized testing across grades and years, and a lack of reliable/valid statistical reporting by schools, it is difficult to assess quantitatively the impact that the Teacher Livelihoods Program has had directly on student performance and retention.  We do know that the past two years have seen a dramatic increase in the number of 6th grade graduates,  from less than 70 two years ago, to 104 during this school year.  Correspondingly, there has also a reduction in the number of 6th grade students who fail the exit exam for primary school.  In 2008-2009, no student failed the exit test while in 2007-2008 6 students failed, and nearly double that number failed the year prior.  We also know from teacher’s qualitative reports that the trainings and investment have made meaningful contributions to the growth in teacher motivation, self-confidence, and self-assessed quality of teaching. 

Though these statistics and qualitative reports are probably causally linked to several aspects of PEPY’s education programs (i.e. our Bike to School & Literacy Programs, and our Supplementary English/XO classes) the TLP is a necessary element within PEPY’s broader Education Program.

TLP Project Future Plans

As planned, we will continue this pilot project for a third year, supporting teachers through attendance-based monthly food distribution, as well as continued training and evaluation.  This year will be the program’s final year during which we will be gradually transitioning towards a new, more comprehensive 3-year Primary School Development Program.   The Primary School Development Program will effectively replace TLP in its training, resource, and evaluation components.  The monthly food support will potentially be retained under the new program following Year 3, or re-evaluated in favor of a more sustainable, community-driven model of supporting teachers’ livelihoods.

Overall, we have seen significant changes in teacher and student attendance as well as motivation levels in large part due to the TLP and believe that support for teachers’ livelihoods is essential for educational improvements in Cambodia.



How was it this funded?

Thanks to hundreds of tiny donations from these online businesses and their customers.

World Nomads USA
World Nomads Canada
***World Nomads UK
The PEPY Ride

PEPY's mission is to aid Cambodian rural communities in improving their own standards of living, with a focus on increased access to quality education.