Schools supporting schools

Asset Publisher

13 March 2024

Public school life

Students and school staff from across Western Australia continue to support education in Cambodia through the long-running Angkor Project.

The project was established in 2006 when a Memorandum of Understanding between the Department and the Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports was signed to support 25 schools in the Kampong Speu Province.

Pi Thnou Primary School is Melville Primary School's sister school.

The project aims to address poverty in that region by building the capability of staff through sister schools and enhancing student participation.

Melville Primary School is one of the many WA schools involved in the project, with its staff and students working with its sister school, Pi Thnou Primary School, since 2016.  

Susan Cooke is a teacher at Melville Primary School and said sister schools are important to expanding education and knowledge. 

“Coming on board with a sister school offers the opportunity for personable connections,” Ms Cooke said.  

“We hear exaggerated conversations and stories, and ourselves have prejudices. Involvement requires a lens of imagination, respect, and kindness.” 

Over the course of their collaboration, students and staff have raised money for their sister school to buy curriculum resources, water tanks, playground equipment and much more.

Ms Cooke teaching students at Pi Thnou Primary School in Cambodia.

In January, Ms Cooke, along with staff from other WA schools, travelled to Cambodia to visit their sister schools and see first-hand the importance of the project and their support. 

Ms Cooke didn’t visit the school empty handed. Before the trip, she and other teachers developed three, one-hour long lessons and resources for Pi Thnou Primary School teachers, and brought stationery and letters written by 60 students. 

Accompanied by interpreters, Ms Cooke had the opportunity to teach and support students with their work sheets and said it was a privilege to get that experience and opportunity. 

Ms Cooke said it was great to have an opportunity to speak with the principal, Om Som Bo, and looks forward to the continued collaboration between the schools. 

“We learned about his goals for the school and that there are over 600 students in the school; 300 attending in the morning and another 300 if the afternoon,” she said.