UNESCO and Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia Partner to Support Adult Literacy for Factory Workers

UNESCO and the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) are partnering to support lifelong learning among garment factory workers across Cambodia. This strategic partnership through GMAC’s Cambodian Garment Training Institute (CGTI) will help ensure that the accredited Factory Literacy Programme (FLP) developed by the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport (MoEYS) and UNESCO will involve GMAC’s participation in its implementation.

The Cambodian garment sector employs a large number of female workers with low levels of literacy and skills. The Factory Literacy Programme was launched by UNESCO and the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport in 2016 as a targeted initiative to upskill these workers and help close the skill gap in the garment, footwear and apparel industry. Tailored to the needs of migrant female factory workers, FLP equips learners with functional literacy and numeracy skills to help them cope with the day-to-day challenges of life. Learners who pass the course’s final exam are provided a certificate of completion by their respective Provincial Office of Education, Youth and Sport that is recognized by MoEYS as equivalent to Grade 4 of formal education. In 2021, UNESCO and MoEYS introduced new textbooks that will provide learners with the option to also obtain a Grade 6 equivalency. Since its launch, FLP has reached 2,063 workers across 12 provinces through 25 partner factories, with an impressive 72 percent completion rate among learners. In 2021, it will be implemented in 11 factories across seven provinces.

The programme is directly aligned with MoEYS’s Lifelong Learning Policy that MoEYS developed in partnership with UNESCO to maximize human resource development to enable the country to progress to upper middle-income status by 2050. The policy builds on MoEYS’s earlier Non-Formal Education Policy (2002) and is integrated with MoEYS’s Education Strategic Plan (2019-2023) and Education Roadmap.

The new partnership with GMAC will allow the Factory Literacy Programme to scale up to a larger number of factories across the country, and integrate CGTI’s strategic upskilling courses for both the programme learners and facilitators, who are factory employees, that will support their professional growth within the garment industry. CGTI is Cambodia’s first fashion and textile training institute that aims to narrow the gap between training needs and jobs in the garment industry. They offer a diplomas as well as short courses that are designed keeping the human resource needs of GMAC partners in mind.

The partnership between UNESCO, MOEYS, and GMAC will offer the factory workers, especially focusing on women, enhanced and diversified learning opportunities to suit their learning needs and enhance economic empowerment and resilience through education and upskilling.


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