Remarks by Dr. John Collins, Education Team Lead, USAID Cambodia, Validation Workshop on Situation Analysis of Education Services for Children with Disabilities in Cambodia

Speeches Shim

Monday, February 5, 2018

(as prepared for delivery)


  • H.E. Put Samith, Director General, Directorate General of Education, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport
  • Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning.

I would like to thank you for your participation in the validation workshop on the Situation Analysis on Educational Services for Children with Disabilities in Cambodia.

USAID is committed to providing access to quality education for all children, regardless of their disabilities and social status, around the world. In Cambodia, we have integrated inclusive education as part of our broader support to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport focusing on early grade reading through the All Children Reading Cambodia project.

We firmly believe that the right to an inclusive education for persons with disabilities is a fundamental human right. Desmond Tutu stated: “Inclusive, good-quality education is a foundation for dynamic and equitable societies.” If the right to education for all is to become a reality, we must ensure that all learners, regardless of physical or cognitive disability, have access to quality education that meets basic learning needs and enriches their lives.

Unfortunately, millions of children with disabilities around the world continue to experience exclusion within and from education. Cambodia is no exception. The 2014 Demographic and Health Survey found that 57 percent of Cambodian children with a disability were out of school. There are numerous children with mild and moderate disabilities already in school who are not receiving the support to help them fulfill their full potential.

USAID seeks to improve reading skills of all children in grades 1-3 in Cambodia, including those with disabilities. To realize this purpose, we’ve asked RTI to work with partners to analyze the situation for children with disabilities in Cambodia. That analysis provided the recommendations that will be discussed today.

Ladies and gentlemen! We have an exciting opportunity to truly understand the status of inclusive education in Cambodia. I believe the discussion today will serve as a foundation for the development of concrete interventions to promote education for Cambodian children with disabilities.

I’d like to thank the RTI team and all the partners who have led and contributed to this important study and for making this workshop possible. Special thanks to the Special Education Department and the Cambodian Disabled People’s Organization for their efforts and participation in the core team conducting this analysis.

I strongly believe that we can work together to make a difference in the area of inclusive education in Cambodia. USAID looks forward to a continued partnership with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports to support all children to improve their reading skills.

I wish you all a fruitful discussion!

Thank you.

Issuing Country