Phoum Stung Primary School: a Case Study of Natura...

Phoum Stung Primary School: a Case Study of Natural Building for Cambodian Classrooms

Source: Open architecture network

NAME: Phoum Stung Primary School: a Case Study of Natural Building for Cambodian Classrooms
PROJECT LEAD: Michael Jones
LOCATION: Stung Village, Cambodia
START DATE: January 28, 2009
CURRENT PHASE: Design development
PROJECT TYPE: Education Facility – Primary School, Education Facility – Training Center, Marketplace – Outdoor, Public Space/Gathering Space, Recreation Facility, Social Service Centers, Youth Center, Technology Facility

DESIGNER: Pagna Serey
DESIGNER: John Singleton, Celine Kwok
SPONSORING ORGANIZATION: Architecture for Humanity, Orient Global

Within the monumental development and reform of education in Cambodia today, the construction of additional classrooms is among the highest priorities. By building durable, cost-effective classrooms from local renewable materials, development funds are maximized and local economies, craftsmanship, and natural habitats are strengthened.

Our team worked with teachers, students, administrators, engineers, architects, and NGOs in Cambodia to understand current conditions and develop strategies for the Classroom of the Future in Cambodia.
Students consistently shared their pride and joy for their schools, despite the crowding or damaged condition. Many students wished that they could attend school the entire day instead of in shifts.

The Cambodian Ministry of Education Youth and Sports (MoEYS) works with numerous development partners and NGOs to facilitate the construction of new schools, actively advocating for Child Friendly Schools as outlined by UNICEF. Effectiveness of national efforts to increase enrollment, teacher accountability, child health and safety and community vitality are all fundamentally linked to the proximity of the nearest school.

Even in the most derelict classroom, administrators acknowledged that cracks and broken shutters were unfortunate, but that additional classrooms were the greatest hope. Enrollment consistently exceeds capacity in communities with schools, despite two or three daily shifts of students. Nearly one third of communes in Cambodia are still without primary schools, a number that MoEYS and groups like Basic Education and Teacher Training (BETT) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) are rapidly addressing, but resources are still lacking.

Schools are typically utilized by the community for gatherings and adult education, the connection between parents, students and the community as a whole are nourished by innovative classroom and site design, and community outreach programs like those administered by NGOs such as PEPY and Schools for Cambodian Children. A majority of resources are currently focused on Primary and Lower Secondary facilities, while efforts like The Cambodia Project and BETT include efforts for Secondary Education and Teacher Training respectively.

Phoum Stung Primary School, Stung Village, Bakong Commune, Prasat Bakong District, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia
Partner Description
Located 18 km from downtown Siem Reap
Siem Reap Province is within Apsara Authority, a government-body who is dedicated to conservation of the Angkor temple ruins and therefore requires special approval for construction.
Phoum Stung Primary School was originally constructed by the community in 1979. The original thatch classrooms provided the school’s only infrastructure until 1995, when the community pooled their money to build two concrete classrooms. In 1999, Redd Bama (Save the Children Norway) added a block of three concrete classrooms and latrines. Enrollment and demand has continued to increase, resulting in the construction of two thatch classrooms, one funded from a team of students from Singapore.
Number of teachers and administrators: 8
Number of pupils: 498
Number of classrooms: 7 (2 thatch classrooms)
Grades: Primary (1-6)
Other facilities: Kitchen (distribution of World Food Programme meals, Store (locally run, sells snacks and supplies)
Electricity: no

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