Strengthening quality of educational policy dialogue and delivery
In Cambodia, barriers to accessing education for the most marginalized have been exacerbated by the global COVID-19 pandemic. In March of 2020 schools closed across all provinces for over a year leaving over three million children out of school. According to UNESCO, only around 10% of learners had access to the internet, parental guidance and adequate technology to receive lessons provided by the development partners, government and private businesses.
Several initiatives were rolled out to address the learning loss, including online, radio and TV broadcasting and paper-based programs, however learners with disabilities, poor, remote, and ethnic minority groups still face access hurdles, including the increasing digital divide. NGO Education Partnership (NEP), the national coalition of educational CSOs, plays a coordination role in shaping the policy priorities of education CSOs for dialogue with the government and other stakeholders.
NEP is working to improve access to education for the most marginalized and to mitigate the negative effects of the pandemic. The coalition aims to help bridge the gap between national policies and grassroots implementation. Through this project, NEP supports a strategic civil society framework that is concentrated around groups: the National Education Sector Working Group (the name of the Local Education Group in Cambodia), the Provincial Education Sector Working Groups (P-ESWG) in 25 provinces, and Thematic Education Sector Working Groups (early years education, primary education, secondary education / TVET, non-formal education, teacher capacity development, and school reform, and special education, including the COVID- 19 Response Coordination Group).
Building on its first two years in OC1, and adaptations since, especially in response to the pandemic, NEP’s specific objectives in this project are:
- Objective 1: To strengthen NEP's capacity to contribute to Government education policy, budget, and programme development, monitoring and evaluation processes, especially the LEG, so that policies and programmes are more gender inclusive, and better address the needs of marginalised groups in Cambodia.
- Objective 2: To include marginalized groups in dialogues, monitoring, analysis, evaluation and advocacy of education policies, budgets, and programme implementation.
- Objective 3: To strengthen civil society and community engagement and social accountability practices at district, provincial and national levels.
- Objective 4: To strengthen NEP's institutional capacities, analytical skills and advocacy strategies by participating in regional and international learning opportunities, collaboratives, events and processes to more effectively engage in national education policy and budget advocacy.
In 2022-23 NEP will focus on strengthening existing accountability frameworks. NEP will focus on promoting more inclusive communities by mobilizing provincial and district education sector networks to engage with and empower marginalized groups.
To achieve these objectives, NEP proposes the following main strategies:
- Capacity development of district education civil society actors in coordination, communications, digital literacy, soft skills development, gender and human rights mainstreaming.
- Analysis and cataloguing of existing social accountability tools and guidelines, education policies, especially on their impact on marginalized groups
- Capacity development for communities to engage in grassroots research and policy implementation analysis.
- Participation and learning from regional and international advocacy platforms and processes with ASPBAE and GCE support.
An earlier phase of the project was implemented in 2020-2021 with support from Education Out Loud.