Australian Ambassador to Cambodia Visits SeeBeyondBorders

Locally driven, internationally engaged. As SeeBeyondBorders continues to achieve greater localisation, our connections across provincial and national borders are of paramount importance. Our international connections promote two-way exchange programs, sponsor research, financially support on-site projects — and fundamentally, they enable the work of SeeBeyondBorders. Originally an Australian international NGO, the ties between our work in Cambodia and the Australian government run deep, and it’s a fruitful bond we seek to sustain and grow for years to come.

Kim Ann Khlang, Program and Executive Support Officer, outlines the long relationship between Australia and SeeBeyondBorders.

To that end, on November 2nd we were delighted to welcome Justin Whyatt, the Australian Ambassador to Cambodia to a primary school in Kralanh District of Siem Reap Province. In line with our forward-looking mindset, we received Ambassador Whyatt not in a district we have finished working with or currently work with, but in one that we are just beginning to forge a rewarding relationship with; Kralanh is one of two districts in Siem Reap in which SeeBeyondBorders has just begun to implement our Transform Education project.

Building off of our lessons learnt from past and current projects, Transform Education synthesises literacy, maths, and educational technology resources from Quality Teaching, and the mentoring system we have been developing since SeeBeyondBorders’ inception up until the Embedding Mentoring program. It also aims to enhance teachers’ leadership and professional identity through coaching and research. Needless to say, primary schools in Kralanh are on track to experience transformational change — hence making the perfect setting and the perfect time for Ambassador Whyatt to visit.

Ambassador Whyatt and Pheung Pov, Managing Director, speak outside a primary school.

Upon arriving at the primary school, the ambassador was welcomed by Managing Director Pov and Principal Toem Hoeub, and was provided a commemorative booklet which can be read here. The three then visited a Grade 1 class to observe a maths lesson in progress. The experience enabled Ambassador Whyatt to gain firsthand insight on the state of primary school education in rural Cambodia along with both the existing and future potential impact of SeeBeyondBorders’ work with teachers and principals.

“It’s exciting to see firsthand the impact that improvements to teacher training, the methods of teaching have on the lives of Cambodian students, and the way that education can transform lives.”

Afterwards, Ambassador Whyatt headed a roundtable open discussion attended by the Kralanh District Governor, Department of Education Representatives, Principal Hoeub, school teachers, and SeeBeyondBorders staff. The discussion created a unique space for different stakeholders in Cambodian education to discuss with one another progress and challenges, successes and lessons learnt, and aspirations and plans for the future. It also enabled the ambassador to meet more of our team members — including Teaching Development Officer Loeuy Sreyrov, who attended the very same primary school and will now be based in Kralanh, working on the ground with teachers.

Ambassador Whyatt engages with local government officials, school faculty and SeeBeyondBorders staff in a productive open discussion.

The opportunity to host the ambassador on-site and highlight the importance of our partnership with the Australian government was truly a fruitful one. We thank Ambassador Whyatt for taking time to visit Kralanh, learn about the education system through first-hand observations, and eagerly partake in dialogue with several parties. His own remarks can be viewed through the video below.

Since 2017, ANCP has supported SeeBeyondBorders’ work, making it one of just 26 NGOs in Cambodia to receive such funding. Their funding is significant; it has enabled the Quality Teaching (Literacy Project and Educational Technology) and Educational Changemakers programs to grow from ideas into reality and it has strengthened our organisational systems and processes. We look forward to sustaining a long-term partnership with ANCP; it makes the work that we do possible, and for that, all of us here at SeeBeyondBorders would like to say thank you.

“It was such a great honour to welcome Ambassador Whyatt to our program. With funding support from ANCP, SeeBeyondBorders can work closely with Cambodian educators and local communities, and together, we have made significant strides towards improving the quality of learning for Cambodian children. Thanks to the Australian Government for your continuous support.”

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