Case study in sustainability: Ek Phnom DOE takes over responsibility for teacher development

Our partnership with the education authorities in Ek Phnom district has led to truly sustainable practices


Our experience working in Cambodia since 2009 has taught us many things, and one of the most important lessons is that engagement with local education authorities is absolutely fundamental to the success of our programs.

We implement projects only in areas where District Offices of Education (DOEs) show high levels of commitment to take responsibility for developing their teachers. This is now happening in Ek Phnom district, where the DOE has taken responsibility for coordinating the training of all teachers, involving senior mentors we have trained, at no ongoing cost to SeeBeyondBorders. We believe this is a first in Cambodia and it is a clear demonstration of the sustainability of our work.

In the beginning

We began working in Ek Phnom District in 2011, implementing our teacher development and mentoring program in 12 primary schools. These schools had all volunteered to be involved in the program.

From the beginning, we actively involved Ek Phnom DOE in all aspects of the program. Teachers received strong support from DOE, provided with time-off to attend workshops, and discussing relevant issues at regular technical meetings. DOE encouraged principals to release mentors to visit mentee teachers in their classrooms, and supported principals to focus on teacher quality.

Results from the program were very impressive ……

Then in 2016, Ek Phnom DOE nominated SeeBeyondBorders for a major international award.  In October 2016, Mr ?????, Director of Ek Phnom DOE joined representatives of SeeBeyondBorders in Paris to receive the prestigious UNESCO Hamden bin

DOE steps up and takes on more responsibility

In 2017, the 12 schools in Ek Phnom completed the Transition phase of the Quality Teaching program, and were moving into the two-year Maintenance program at the start of the new school year in November 2017. In this phase, Ek Phnom DOE took responsibility for the full program. We transferred responsibility for professional development to the DOEs, and the schools themselves.  With the support of DOEs, senior mentors now run training programs for new teachers in the district to address the continual cycle of new teachers entering the system each year.  We help the DOE take on full responsibility for running the program in the existing 12 schools, providing support, but no longer providing funding.

Expansion into remaining Ek Phnom schools

Following success of the initial program in 12 schools, Ek Phnom DOE has now asked SeeBeyondBorders to expand the Quality Teaching program into the remaining 19 schools in the District.

The difference in these schools is that DOE has taken over responsibility for the program. Although we provide support for the program as it rolls out in the new schools, we are no longer required to fund or manage the program.

Sustainability in practice

This is an excellent example of the SeeBeyondBorders’ sustainability approach in practice.  We aim to share the knowledge and experience that will enable communities to improve their own lives independently, without continuing dependence on external support. The

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