The 13th Learning Center of the Basic Education Equivalency Programme (BEEP) was officially launched this morning at Yi Da Company Limited (YDCL). Yi Da is the first BEEP Learning Center located within a Factory Literacy Programme (FLP) partner. This garment factory is a subsidiary of Crystal Group with locations in China, Vietnam and Cambodia. The factory employs over 3,500 workers of which 78% are female; only 38% of workers have completed primary education.
The Royal Government of Cambodia and UNESCO discussed BEEP for the first time in 2016 to tackle secondary school dropout in the country. Through a series of follow-up discussions with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, the BEEP framework was finalized in early 2017. Through their joint efforts, 13 BEEP Learning Centers – 7 in Phnom Penh, 5 in Siem Reap, and 1 in Battambang Province -- have successfully been established. Currently, approximately 2,000 students (26% female), from different geographic locations throughout Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, have registered. A total of 313 students (36% female) are taking lessons.
The garment sector in Cambodia employs over 800,000 workers, of which 85% are young women, most of whom were not able to complete lower secondary education. BEEP will therefore be expanded to more factories across Cambodia so that more female learners can benefit. Moreover, starting from 2020, graduates of the Factory Literacy Progamme will be able to receive a primary level equivalency certificate so that they, too, can enroll in BEEP. The linkage between the two programmes will open wider access to education among young workers.