We currently provide English classes at our school in Banteay Srey and at a pagoda in Kampong Thom. English is the de facto international language and is very important language in Cambodia, where tourism makes up over 16% of the country’s GNP (approximately 2.1 million visit Siem Reap annually). The industry employs thousands of people in Siem Reap alone, as well as other major cities and tourists attractions. Careers in hotel, Western restaurants, local shops and stores, tour agencies, banking and finance postions, and even tuk-tuk and car drivers require fluency. Without English it is very difficult to find work.
Offering English classes allows motivated students to learn the language, creating a bridge to job opportunities and meaningful careers in the tourism and hospitality sector. Finding work in the city will bring a higher salary and gives the students the ability to support themselves and their families back home. Without the school, students will most likely inherit the careers of their parents, the majority of which are rice farmers and coal makers. While there is nothing wrong with these careers, it eliminates the chance of upward mobility and its benefits, like proper healthcare and advanced education.
We offer four English classes in Banteay Srey, including a Beginners, Pre-Intermediate, Intermediate, and Grammar/Conversation class. Approximately 150 students participate in the program, including 15 in the most advanced course. To date, approximately 10 students have graduated and found employement in the city at hotels, radio stations, and restaurants.
The school in Kampong Thom was opened in 2011 and offers six classes, all at a beginner level. As students progress, more challenging courses will be offered. Approximately 200 students participate in this program, although it tends to fluctuate based on the season.