As we enter 2023, our focus is on enhancing existing programming, identifying new pathways, and increasing access to opportunities that will empower our students with the skills and experiences necessary to become positive change agents in their families, communities, and the country.
To increase and sustain the impact we create, we continue to build and sustain strong partnerships with organizations in Cambodia and abroad.
EYC creates educational opportunities providing our students with contextual and relevant information to make well-informed decisions regarding their professional and personal paths. With that in mind, our 2023 priorities include the following:
Strong English skills are critical for higher education and job opportunities. In 2023, we will continue to build on the work from the last few years to strengthen our English curriculum and the skills of our teachers. Monitoring student progress and engaging parents more in their student’s learning journey is also essential.
Over the past few years, we’ve taken a segment of students through STEM programming. Given the trajectory of Cambodia’s economy and recognizing the shortage of qualified individuals in the science, engineering, and technological sectors, we are building on that work and are designing an expanded STEM curriculum. This new curriculum will annually introduce around 100 students to coding and algorithmic principles while helping them learn creative thinking and collaborative work.
After many years operating a robust Team Leader program at EYC for students from 15 to 18 years old, we have recognized the importance of developing leadership potential at younger ages. We are excited to expand EYC’s Leadership Program with the launch of a new Leadership Development curriculum targeting students aged 11 to 16 years old – activating the leadership potential of more than 100 additional students.
The first year of the new curriculum emphasizes students’ social-emotional learning. We aim to help them develop healthy identities, manage emotions, achieve personal and collective goals, engage in supportive relationships, and make responsible and thoughtful decisions for their future. The second year focuses on helping them develop the cognitive and social skills they need to create opportunities for their future.
A 2023 priority is the implementation of a Vocational Training Program. We know that higher education is not the answer for all students and that the realities of our students’ family situations necessitate many of them to start contributing to the family’s income as soon as possible. By partnering with existing institutions providing targeted and proven vocational training, we will help our students access valuable skills to navigate the labor market successfully.
For those for whom higher education is the right fit, we provide several scholarship opportunities. We are identifying additional opportunities for international scholarships and will focus on specifically preparing our students in advance for the rigorous and demanding application process. The experiences gained through international study are life-changing. As we see first-hand, EYC students who have had the opportunity to study abroad have become great leaders once back in Cambodia.
Our team remains attentive to what is happening in the informal communities we serve. Rapid urban development in Phnom Penh is underway, causing the eviction of many disadvantaged communities, including the families of EYC students. Recent inflation and potential factory closures also threaten EYC’s families’ livelihoods, and we are committed to supporting these families. Priorities for 2023 include:
- Following up with and supporting EYC students’ families affected by recent evictions.
- Providing transportation to students from a recently closed EYC school and integrating them into one of our other schools.
- Contributing to positive community development by collaborating with the local authorities in the informal communities where we work.