Primary school teacher Souy Kran smiles as she stands at the front of her classroom; behind her, rows of schoolchildren work at their desks.

Empowering education: transforming teaching and supporting students in Cambodia

Professional Development in Upper Secondary Schools (PDUSS)

August 2020 to June 2024

For 28 years, VSO has partnered with local communities and volunteers to reduce poverty, empower communities, and drive change in Cambodia. Quality education should be for everyone, regardless of their background or circumstances, and VSO works closely with the Cambodian government to achieve this vision. 

About the project 

Girls in a biology lesson

My experience improving STEM education in Cambodia

After retiring from a successful career in the UK as a science teacher, Sean McMorrow shared his skills and experience to help Cambodian children pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and maths.

VSO is currently working with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS) and a local NGO, Kampuchea Action for Promoting Education (KAPE), to implement an education project called the Professional Development in Upper Secondary Schools (PDUSS). 

The programme aims to enhance the inclusiveness, effectiveness, and relevance of upper secondary education in Cambodia's Kampong Cham, Takeo, Kandal, Battambang, and Siem Reap regions. The goal is to jointly develop, plan, and deliver an innovative professional development programme for teachers and school leaders that will benefit students and professionals alike. 

The focus is to improve skills in four key areas: STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths), Library Management, Career Guidance and Counselling, and School-Based Management. 

The project has already made significant strides in improving the quality and relevance of STEM education in Upper Secondary Schools. VSO uses a 'Training the Trainer' approach, which ensures that knowledge is passed on sustainably through the education system, while also providing mentoring and coaching support to schoolteachers in 50 schools across 25 provinces in Cambodia. 

Case study: Bringing STEM to life

In June 2022, a VSO team visited Klakon High School, a Secondary Resource School in Battambang, to introduce STEM teaching methods.

The team conducted three practical activities, including exploring model-based inquiry in action using a scale model of the solar system, putting the scientific method into practice through investigating physical fitness, and gaining experience in project-based learning through making yogurt over a period of 24 hours.

Following their initial visit, the principal and students requested VSO's support for an upcoming STEM fair event. The VSO team suggested a yogurt-making activity as a food science project and helped the school produce and sell 600 pots of flavoured yogurt at the fair.

The project resulted in a strong bond between VSO and the school leaders and teachers, who plan to continue working together and enhance STEM education further.

It’s enjoyable learning sciences, we could see an experiment and do problem solving alongside of the project. We encourage our classmates to enrol in science-based classes, it’s a fun learning environment and skill based.”

– student feedback on the event

Case study: Connecting education and opportunity

Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (Cambodia) logo
This project is ran in partnership with Ministry of Education Youth and Sport (MoEYS).

Chup Veary school wanted to help its students better understand the world of work, so they teamed up with a local company called Misota, which specialises in processing dried fruit, fruit drinks, and honey for local and international markets.

The company, founded by a Cambodian couple, welcomed 20 students and five teachers to their factory. The students were immediately engaged with the manufacturing process, asking questions and observing every step, from sorting and cleaning the fruit to the final packaged product. They were eager to learn about the company's history and how it had developed over time.

The visit was an eye-opener for the students, helping them to explore links between STEM and food science, and opening up new avenues to explore a career in manufacturing. The company's approach to working with local farmers and creating locally jobs also left a lasting impression on the students, who were introduced to the concept of corporate social responsibility for the first time.

After their visit, the students are considered how a STEM fair to create their own products might help connect with the local economy and job market. This partnership showcases the immense value of connecting STEM learning and entrepreneurship with real-life work opportunities.

PDUSS is implemented by VSO under contract with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS). PDUSS is part of the MoEYS’s project '2nd Upper Secondary Education Sector Development Project (USESDP2)' under the loan of the Asian Development Bank.

Related links

Purnima at a catch up class
Suraj Shakya

Inclusive education

Making sure everyone gets the skills they need to live a fulfilled, dignified life.

We helped over 3.2 million people to access the quality education they deserve in 2022-23.

Chum Srey Nga (50) now uses her floating vegetable garden for income rather than fishing
VSO/Sophea Chheun


We've worked in Cambodia since 1991, strengthening inclusive education systems and supporting people to develop secure and resilient livelihoods.

Community volunteer in Cambodia

Volunteering in Cambodia

Through the work of our volunteers in Cambodia we have helped deliver national policy changes, transformed education for two thirds of all primary students and increased income and food security for thousands of Cambodia's poorest people.


Gati supports her mentee Evalyne through any challenges she is facing and with her studies.

Support us with a donation