The ESCUP (EQUIP1/Cambodia Educational Support to Children in Underserved Populations) Activity Toolkit
This toolkit outlines activities and training methods to address problems that affect school attendance and development in Cambodia. The toolkit is organised into a website developed to engage school committees to prioritize the problems they encounter and to choose the appropriate interventions to solve those problems. The process begins with each school committee conducting a needs assessment to determine and prioritize their problems.
Once problems have been identified, a list of possible problems impacting school development and attendance is provided, each with a set of activities. Each activity has a brief description and a list of resources needed in order to implement that activity. In addition, each activity links to a training manual to enable training of the community to implement the selected activity.
Problems addressed include:
- Absenteeism and dropout: looks at the different reasons resulting in boys and girls not attending school such as disability, poor sanitary facilities, families not being able to afford to send their children to school
- Buildings and infrastructure, incomplete schools and latrines/toilets: looks at how to ensure classrooms are set up in a way that best promotes active learning and participatory methods, providing emergency school facilities where schools are incomplete, and ensuring schools have adequate sanitation, particularly for girls
- Class sizes and teacher shortages: looks at dealing with large classes resulting from teacher shortages
- Community Involvement in Education: ensuring that communities are actively engaged with their local schools
- Educational relevance and language issues: looks at ensuring education goes some way to addressing students' cultural development, life skills and social needs as well as looking at local language issues for students and teachers such as having bilingual classroom assistants
- Enrollment: poor enrolment can be a result of families not being able to afford their chidlren's primary or secondary education, or schools being too far away for children to be able to attend
- Health needs, hunger and malnourishment looks at initiatives such as having an adequate playground, a school breakfast programme as well as addressing
- Children with special needs addresses remedial support for slow learners, vulnerable children and children with disabilities
- Weak School Management looks at planning, assessment and ensuring support from a local school committee
(Note: while the toolkit was designed in the Cambodian context, many of the issues raised and activities suggested can be adapted to other contexts.)