Providing quality education will change a child's life
With modern facilities including IT and science labs, access to the latest technologies, an enhanced teacher training program, and a focus on STEM education (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), the Neeson Cripps Academy (NCA) students receive a world standard education conducive to building critical thinking skills and gaining a deeper understanding of the world around them.
Supporting more than 400 students, the NCA was generously gifted to CCF by our long term supporter, Velcro Companies.
Velcro Companies is committed to advancing education and improving the lives of children across the globe, and has made a great impact here in Steung Meanchey.
The building is named after Robert Cripps, former Velcro Companies Chairman, and Scott Neeson, Founder and Executive Director of the Cambodian Children’s Fund.
Building the future of education in Cambodia
Designed pro-bono by acclaimed New York firm CookFox Architects, the ecological design creates a healthy environment for learning and limits water and energy usage. The building uses low energy lighting, natural ventilation and solar energy, and features include open-air learning spaces. Using local building materials and traditional Cambodian architectural concepts, the NCA is a school of the future with a connection to the rich culture of Cambodia.
The children and youth in the largely impoverished Steung Meanchey communities have hungered for an opportunity to study. To meet that hunger with a quality education and the prospect of a university degree, we will give children the tools they need to lead their family and community to a better life.
Experiential teaching and learning
Here, CCF students get ‘hands on’ in their learning - whether it’s chemistry experiments, traditional Khmer dance, basketball, or more recently gardening. In September 2019 construction was finished on the rooftop garden. This garden provides both a space for students to learn about agriculture, biology, and the environment, as well as cooling the classrooms below by several degrees.
Learning from a permaculture expert, students designed the garden layout and planned which plants would work in the space. In science classes and gardening clubs, students now learn how to care for the plants, design internet-of-things based systems for measuring water and sunlight, and practice sustainable agriculture.
The key objective of the NCA is to provide an international standard of learning to our students. We have world class science labs, support e-Learning throughout the facility, and are a teacher training hub for both CCF and public school teachers.
CCF received the license to implement the Khmer General Education (KGE) curriculum from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport in November 2017. This means students at the NCA study full time at the facility, following both the pathway to graduate with nationally recognised qualifications as well as CCF’s specialised classes in STEM activities, sports, and the arts.
A modern curriculum for a modern Cambodia
Specifically, we need our students to be able to investigate the world, weigh perspectives, communicate ideas, and take action. These skills are required when considering STEM careers and the extra curricular STEM clubs at the NCA provide the platform for students to build these while analyzing, presenting and sharing the acquired knowledge with their peers, mentors and teachers. Activities on the roster include robotics, coding, app design, photography, engineering, and electronics.
In 2019, we opened a ‘Maker Space’ within the NCA where students can learn more about how products are made and develop their entrepreneurial passions. With industrial sewing machines, 3D printers, woodworking tools and more, NCA students are encouraged to explore what it means to take their ideas from their classrooms to a potential prototype.
The return on investment is already yielding incredible results. It is with great pride and excitement that with only two years of implementing the full-time KGE curriculum at CCF that the 2019 NCA Grade 12 students achieved an impressive 84% pass rate of the national exams, which when compared to the national average of 69% is a remarkable result.
Additionally, four NCA students so far have received a full scholarship to Trinity College, Melbourne University.
Teacher training partners
CCF also provides on-going teacher development training to increase teacher’s skills, knowledge, and competency in the classroom. Supported by the University of Nottingham, the training has been covering general pedagogy and practical classroom concepts such as curriculum and instructional planning, student centered teaching approach, active learning strategies, 21st century teaching approach, assessment and feedback, ICT and student behavior management.
Regular teacher training is organised fortnightly, along with specialised training sessions run by partner organisations throughout the year. In 2019, CCF teaching staff were trained by partners such as Credit Suisse, UWC Singapore, and Adobe. By upskilling and retaining our teaching staff, we are investing in not only our staff but our students and their futures.