Story

The New Hope for Dropouts

24/01/2020
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Ms. Prum Chanlang

Prum Chanlang dropped out of the ninth grade when she was 15 because she thought she had no chance of graduating. Ms Chanlang, now 34, says all these years later, her dream of finally graduating might just come true. She came all the way from her home province of Banteay Meanchey in order to register to enroll at the BEEP’s Learning Centre at the National Institute of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Phnom Penh. She had no choice but to drop out of school during her teenage years because her family was poor. In order to help her family, she moved to the capital to work as a translator. Ms Chanlang said despite her linguistic prowess in being able to speak English, Thai and Chinese, she lacks certification. “In this society, if our skills are not certified, it is difficult to compete in the labour market,” she said. Despair turned to hope when she saw a promotion for BEEP on social media. “I thought I had no chance because of my age, but then I heard news that a 90-year-old woman was able to graduate. I was surprised, but the news encouraged me to continue to study.” With BEEP, learning is done online and certification is recognised by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and the Ministry and Labour and Vocational Training. “I can work to find income as usual then I can study at home at night before I sleep,” she said. She confirmed that it’s different studying online because we learn alone – there are no online peers and no online teachers, but she got used to it.  When she has a question or is in need for clarification, she can ask one of the BEEP facilitators. “It is a good Programme because it gives a chance to out-of-school people to learn and get certified,” she said. “I hope that my dream will come true and hope that other dropouts will register and join in order to study again and have a brighter future.”

Ms. Chin Sreykhuoch

Sreykhuoch, 22 years old, was born and raised in a rural village not too far from Angkor Wat Temple in Siem Reap Province. Amongst three other siblings, Sreykhuoch dropped out of her 9th grade at lower secondary school due to the urgent need to support her family financially. She applied to work in different places in Siem Reap Town in the hope to earn some money. Like other rural unskilled young workers, experiencing rejections at job interviews became normal. Sreykhuoch continued to apply to other companies including restaurants. She was finally offered a position as chef’s assistant in two different restaurants in Asia Market. Forcing herself to quit school was a very difficult decision. After having worked in the restaurants for a few months, she thought there would be no hope for her to return to school. However, the news about BEEP was reached out to her workplace. “I was so excited to learn about the flexible learning opportunity given by BEEP,” she said. Sreyshuoch later enrolled in BEEP at the National Polytechnic Institute of Angkor (NPIA). She completed all the required courses in the TVET track (7 subjects) and is ready to take the final exam to get the certificate. Out of her excitement, Sreykhuoch said she wanted to enroll in BEEP because she needs a lower-secondary school equivalency certificate in order to enroll in skills training. Upon completion of BEEP, she wants to get further training on bartending and baking skills at a TVET institute. BEEP helps improve her daily work too. She said, “Subjects in BEEP such as English, Math, Computer, Tourism and Khmer are very important for me. I can now communicate with my Chinese boss in English. I can also greet and interact with customers better.” Sreykhuoch has a smart phone and she spends at least 30 minutes every day taking BEEP lessons. She wishes to see the expansion of this Programme to reach out to other out-of-school youth facing similar situations.