Going to school has always been a battle for Cheing. The 13-year-old struggles with behavioral issues, and it has affected his ability to learn in the classroom.
It's estimated that 1 in 4 Cambodian children, like Cheing, are repeating the same grade from the previous year. Two years ago, Cheing and his 7-year-old brother Dararith joined Asian Hope's Catch Up School in the Toul Kork community where we help struggling students reach their grade level so that they can complete their education. Their parents heard about the free program from a friend.
"For me, as a parent, I feel very, very proud that they get a chance to go to school because their older siblings did not have that chance," says their 48-year-old father Pov. "I'm just grateful for what Asian Hope has done for my family."
The lack of qualified teachers and available resources in Cambodia for children with learning disabilities impacts their overall academic success. At the Catch Up School, Cheing and his brother are receiving the individual attention and support that they need to thrive. Cheing likes addition and subtraction, even though he has a difficult time with fractions. He gets extra help from his teacher and plays math games for practice.
Pov says he's seen a difference in Cheing and Dararith's behavior, especially Cheing, who now attends the Catch Up School regularly and is more respectful at home.
The father, who supports his family on a modest income as a moto bike driver, says he worries about their future. Pov fears that they will end up ignorant and irrational if they do not finish school. "My wish for them is that they will grow up and be educated people like others and they won't be like their older siblings," Pov says. "I believe through the Catch Up School, their future will be different."
Opened in 2012
61 students enrolled
40 boys and 21 girls
Student-teacher ratio of 15:1 compared to the 46:1 nationwide average.Some of the children in the program are not attending regular school. Many families cannot afford to pay for school expenses such as books, supplies, uniforms, transportation, and informal fees that many teachers demand from their students and children often quit school to work and support their families.
Some of the students are repeating the same grade level in regular school because they have not achieved competency in reading, writing and math.
Nearly half of the students are behind in their grade level.
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