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Cambodia - SMART
Strengthening Maths Results and Teaching (SMART)
Provinces of Phnom Penh, Battambang, Kandal, and Kampong Cham
2017 - 2021
€ 3,868,000
Primary Education
Professional development of teachers (PRESET); equity

Cambodia has made significant progress in providing education opportunities for children in the past decade. Access to primary education is almost universal and gender parity has improved.

Nevertheless, some challenges remain to reach the SDG 4 goal of inclusive and quality education for all. Repetition is still high in the first year of primary schooling and dropout is pervasive in some regions. National and international assessments show that Cambodian primary school children still have not reached the same levels of learning outcomes as their peers in other countries, particularly in maths. Teachers lack capacity in pedagogical content knowledge in maths, as well as in effective classroom management. Therefore, Teacher Education Colleges need to upgrade their initial teacher education.


Newly qualified primary school teachers from the teacher education colleges have the competences to improve the quality of teaching and learning in mathematics for all children in primary schools.


The SMART programme centres on strengthening initial teacher education and teaching practice for primary school teachers, especially in maths and classroom management.

The programme is built around three pillars:

  • Upgrading maths training for teachers.
  • Ensuring teachers take into account different learning levels of all pupils.
  • Ensuring Teacher Education Colleges (TECs) have an increased focus on teaching performance, gender, and environment.

The programme prepares future teachers of the primary education system to create an effective classroom environment in which all students can learn. 

By the end of the SMART programme:

Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS): will have developed (gender) equity-sensitive training manuals in maths for student teachers.

Maths teacher trainers and – as a result – their student teachers will have:

  • strengthened pedagogical content knowledge in maths and better skills in using gender and level appropriate teaching materials;
  • improved skills in positive discipline and flexible grouping.

Student teachers: enjoy mentoring by their teacher trainers and model teachers on the effective use of classroom management.

Directors of TECs and practice schools: have strengthened competences to support teaching performance, gender, and environment.

To reach its goals, VVOB Cambodia develops the capacity of its education partners. VVOB uses capacity development trajectories that give partners maximal responsibility in the execution and management of their own change processes. This is done through technical assistance provided by the VVOB Cambodia team, which includes both local and international educational and change management experts.