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Implementing agency

Non-formal Education Department, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports
169 Preah Norodom Blvd., Phnom Penh
Phone:  855-23-219 258
Fax:  855-23-210 369


Literacy and NFE situation

According to the National Literacy Survey of Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports supported by UNESCO and UNDP in 2000, 63% of adults aged 15 and over are illiterates or literate but can not use their knowledge and skills.  Approximately, 70% of these iliterate and semi-literate population are women.  Furthermore, the statistics of the Ministry of Planning showed that 36% of Cambodian population live below the poverty line, of which 80% are population in the family as illiterate or uncompleted the primary education.


CLC initiatives and features

The Government has defined the activities of poverty alleviation as the first priority of National Policy.  The CLC project has responded to this Government’s policy through promoting decentralization and empowerment at the grassroots level.  CLCs were initiated in Cambodia in 1994 with assistance from UNESCO and NFUAJ (National Federation of UNESCO Association in Japan) in Siem Reap, Battambang and Kandal provinces.  To further these experiences of CLCs, a pilot project under the support from APPEAL has been carried out in three provinces namely, Takeo, Kampong Speu and Kamong Thom provinces since 1999.


Since more than 85 per cent of Cambodian people are Buddhists, the CLCs are sometimes located in the temple compound where people come to worship.  Monks are often members of the CLC committee, which encourages local communities to become involved in CLC activities.  The CLC committees play a key role in organizing the activities of the CLC. This model has been utilized by both government and non-government organizations, which are now supporting communities to organize their own activities.


Main activities

Since the illiteracy rate in Cambodia is quite high, the main activities of CLCs focus on literacy programmes.  Also, skill training for income generation is very popular including sewing, hair-cutting, raising pig, weaving, tailoring reparing motorbike, etc.   Post literacy activities have been conducted in CLCs through a reading corner for newspapers and magazines, mobile library and TV.  Early childhood care progammes have been experimented in a few CLCs for parents and guardians of children.  The CLCs have provided precious venues for community people to learn literacy and obtain skills as well as receive various information through community meetings, cultural and recreational activities.  Credit programmes have been introduced to CLCs to generate financial resources of CLCs.  Learners form groups e.g. open tailor shops in the village with support of credit scheme from the Department of Non-Formal Education. The profits from tailoring are partially contributed to the CLC for running the activities. 


Strengths and weaknesses

Through their participation in the management process of CLCs, community people have developed the sense of ownership and confidence to handle the problems and challenges by themselves.   In particular, CLCs have demonstrated the empowerment of illiterate and low-literate people through skill training by meeting their immediate needs especially in economy.


At the same time, the capcity of CLC staff and district level personnel is still weak, and so many CLCs have not been able to mobilize or fulloy utilising the resoruces and other potential of the communtiy.  Furthermore, all the products of IGP in CLCs don’t always meet the market quaility, and so the progarmmes can not generate enough income to support the CLCs. 


Future plans

CLCs have been found effective delivery mechanisms of NFE and included in the National EFA Action Plans.  Specifically, future plans of CLCs include:

  • Developing CLC action plans under the National EFA Action Plans.
  • Setting up and capacity building of the national CLC committees.
  • Providing additional skills training courses that are relevant to market demands and the needs of the community.
  • Strengthening networks with other sectors such as temples and formal schools.
  • Expanding CLCs in disadvantaged parts of rural and urban areas.