UNESCO and Smart Axiata Sign Partnership Agreement in support of BEEP
On 16 February 2021, Mr. Sardar Umar Alam, UNESCO Country Representative, and Mr. Thomas Hundt, Chief Executive Officer of Smart Axiata, signed a partnership agreement to support the Basic Education Equivalency Programme (BEEP).
The ceremony was presided over by His Excellency (H.E.) Dr. Hang Chuon Naron, Minister of Education Youth and Sport (MoEYS), H.E. Dr. Pich Sophoan, Minister Delegate Attached to the Prime Minister, Permanent Secretary of State, Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MoLVT), Mr. Thomas Hundt, Chief Executive Officer, Smart Axiata and Ms. Nadia Ottiger, Deputy Head of Cooperation, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
BEEP is a collaborative initiative between the MoLVT, MoEYS and UNESCO to expand access to basic education through flexible, self-paced and blended learning. This intervention is part of the United Nations (UN) joint programme on Decent Employment for Youth (DEY Phase II) in Cambodia supported by SDC. DEY Phase-II aims to support young women and men in Cambodia to increasingly obtain decent and productive employment opportunities by ensuring they are better able to meet labour market demand and are prepared for quality employment.
Since BEEP’s launch in 2018, Smart Axiata has supported the Programme in providing accessibility to the BEEP platform through provision of devices and data to learners and centers. Under the new two-year partnership, Smart Axiata is committed to providing 350 Internet connected tablets and 350 SIM cards with unlimited data, internet packages to allow 500 students to access courses free of charge, and five laptops for program coordination purposes to the Ministries.
In his remarks, Mr. Sardar Umar Alam congratulated the two Ministries for their achievements in growing the Programme since its launch in 2018. He pointed out that BEEP has become the Ministries’ flagship project for blended learning, playing a critical role in reducing digital inequality in the country. H.E. Dr. Pich Sophoan shared that BEEP emerged from the need to provide out-of-school youth taking short-term education courses with a pathway to higher education, facilitating the creation of a new approach to learning where teachers lead and facilitate, and students actively engage and practically apply what they have learned. Lastly, H.E. Dr. Hang Chuon Naron said that BEEP is an important contribution to the Royal Government of Cambodia’s Lifelong Learning Policy. It helps transform the old Community Learning Centers to a permanent lifelong learning center that incorporates 21st century pedagogy.
BEEP currently has 21 learning centers across 12 provinces, reaching a total of 650 learners, with plans to establish 35 learning centers across 15 provinces by 2023.