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The importance of a database

The importance of a database

Pinelopi, an intern at BED for 6 months, tells us about the database she created to centralize information about our beneficiaries. A task that at first glance seems obvious, but that turns out to be both complex, technical and vital to improve the quality of the programs we implement.

In September of 2020, I arrived at Bayon Education and Development to implement a project initially sought out by members of the social and health teams. The project? To develop and implement a database that would organize the data collected on beneficiaries as well as assist with the monitoring and evaluation needs of BED.

Database and its contents

The database was built using an online software called TeamDesk. A tool customized to reflect the needs of BED’s data collection and organization of three main components: social, health, and education.

Throughout their enrollment from kindergarten to grade 12, and in some cases university, beneficiaries are monitored by BED’s team of social workers, medical professionals and educators. The social, health and educational data collected by our teams are essential for proper monitoring of each beneficiary as well as for assessing the efficacy and impact of our programs. As a result, the database currently stores the social, health and education information of beneficiaries enrolled in our Primary School, Follow-up and University programs (372 students and 242 families).

Need for a data base

Prior to the implementation of the database, BED was seeking a way to improve the monitoring and evaluation strategies of beneficiaries and programs.

As information was collected by different teams, and previously stored in several unrelated Excel files, performing analyses across the different components of data collection was quite complicated. Additionally, it was challenging to share information between teams.

Lastly, new records were created every year, thus making it difficult to monitor students and families over time and get a sense of the impact and evolution of BED. Therefore, three basic needs were required of the new database: the ability to

  • Store and relate beneficiary data in one place,
  • Keep a history of collected data,
  • Analyze the collected data

Value & impact

Within the database, each student and family has a personal file that stores data collected by each team throughout their enrollment in BED. This has two important implications:

  • The team has access to a comprehensive file to monitor each student and family and
  • Information related to beneficiaries or a program can be monitored over the years.

 In addition to the impact on data organization and monitoring, the database has also influenced how each team collects their data. Teachers at the primary school can now record attendance and exam scores directly on their phone or a tablet, medical check-ups are recorded using a tablet, and social workers have the ability to update a family’s information at the time of their visit. This feature provides all teams with immediate access to updated information as it is collected.

Etudiants du programme follow-up
rencontre avec les étudiants boursiers

Lastly, information can also be organized in charts, graphs and figures. This enables BED’s management to derive insights on the performance of the different projects under its umbrella.

Implementation & future

As BED also aims to increase the skills of its staff, several training sessions have been given and the local teams are now autonomous in the use of the database.

Training of the staff

Although this project begins with three programs (primary, follow-up and university), the long-term objective would be to carry out data collection for all of BED’s programs on the database. Ultimately, the purpose of this database is to serve BED’s team and management in relating information across different data collection tasks and to improve the organization’s ability to track the evolution of beneficiaries and programs over the years to come.

It has been an incredible experience working with each person at BED to complete this project. To say the least, I believe it has been a learning experience for me as well as for all the team members who have had to adjust to a new tool for completing their work in support of children and families enrolled with BED.

From kindergarten to a qualifying diploma: Bayon’s educational pathway

From kindergarten to a qualifying diploma: Bayon’s educational pathway

The implementation of a comprehensive educational program for all the children of Bayon primary school reflects our desire to ensure them a better social and professional integration.

It is our duty to bring all the children of Bayon to realize their dreams

To this end, we have recently initiated an educational reform within our programs to offer this opportunity to every Bayon child.

We have set simple but essential objectives for the success of their professional project

  • To support the child throughout their educational journey to a qualifying degree
  • To guide and support the child in the realization of his/her professional project
  • To individualize and personalize the child’s follow-up
  • To help children with the most difficult educational and/or social situations
  • To improve the overall quality of education

Each child who will begin his or her schooling at the Bayon primary school by the kindergarten section will be followed until the fulfillment of his or her professional project.

Alongside reasoning and intellectual reflection, the sense of observation, the taste for experimentation, sensitivity, motor skills and creative imagination are developed.”

enfant porte des fournitures scolaires

The primary school is a period that plays a decisive role in the educational curriculum of each student. We therefore wish to pay particular attention to the development of fundamental learning (reading, writing, counting and respecting others). To do this, we have doubled the number of first, second and third grade classes and set up support classes for the students with the most difficulties. An awakening to culture, art, music and sports has also been reinforced. This basic foundation is essential to serenely apprehend the classes of CM1, CM2 and 6éme and reinforce the learning capacities of the children. Primary school is also a time when the child’s personal development must be actively encouraged. 

This is why at Bayon School we implement a pedagogy that focuses on the students and their individual abilities.

enfants de maternelles en classe
enfants essayent un instrument de musique
enfants en uniforme de sport célèbrent

The follow-up of students in secondary schools is facilitated by the opening of a Community Center on February 8, 2021. Within this new structure, students have access to support courses in Khmer literature, mathematics and English. An individualized follow-up is possible thanks to the presence of a social worker directly at the center. Beyond the academic follow-up, we are also committed to guiding the young people in their educational and professional path, because their professional project starts there! The implementation of a professional orientation process, occupation and training, will therefore help the students to make the right choice between accessing vocational training or university studies.

Distribution de matériels scolaires aux étudiants
rencontre avec les étudiants boursiers
distribution de matériels scolaires

Whether they want to be mechanics, bakers or nurses, we are here to help them realize their dream.

A year like no other at the Bayon School

A year like no other at the Bayon School

As the year 2020 comes to an end, so does the school year for our primary and bakery/pastry schools. It has been a complicated 12 months, during which our students and teams have been seriously challenged. We have had to adapt, reinvent ourselves and act quickly in the face of a crisis, the impact of which no one could have foreseen. Even though the situation is far from being “normal” again, we have come out of it stronger, enriched and eager to keep innovating in order to provide a better education for those in need.

Let’s look back at the actions and successes of our schools

In September 2019, we welcome our 6th class of students at the Pastry School with 26 young girls; a number, which has been constantly rising since the opening of the school. The new laboratory intended to free up space and reinforce our bakery teaching is almost finished and we are delighted to be able to start the new year in optimal conditions to train more and better. In 2018/2019, we manage to self-finance almost 55% of the school’s costs, thanks to the Coffee Shop’s income, and we are doing our utmost to welcome tourists and visitors to do, if not just as well, even better. The hygiene teaching program is reviewed with a food safety specialist and English classes are reinforced with the launch of a partnership with the Australian Center for English.

des enfans mangent à la cantine

In October 2019, 232 students are enrolled in the Bayon primary school and 120 middle and high school students continue their studies, whilst being accompanied on a monthly basis by our teams with educational and social follow-up. The primary-aged children discover the new sit-down breakfast with a hot meal from 6:45 a.m. The art-culture-sport program is reinforced with traditional puppet classes and one and a half hours a week are dedicated to sports. In February, 30 pupils participate in the inter-school sports championship and win 2 medals; a very proud moment for all involved! Support classes for pupils with difficulties continue and the project for a building dedicated to small group teaching is on the road to completion.

In November 2019, the number of “farmer” families in the Bayon increases to 11, as three new families join the vegetable garden project. This project allows these women farmers to earn additional income and 90% of the vegetables bought for the canteen are now organic.

Cooperation with the association Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (For a Child’s Smile) kicks off and together we launch a major collaborative project to create a field for experimentation in agroecology. Projects such as planting fruit trees and medicinal plants, building above-ground cultivation tables, creating compost and installing an irrigation system mean that this land will become the home to our future agroecology school with its first 10 students in January 2021. At the same time, and in partnership with the NGO Vivre de sa Terre, the 10-month training of the future teachers starts and the team fine-tunes the curriculum.

Une agricultrice montre ses cultures

From December 2019, the families receive a visit from our medical and social teams to assess their sanitary conditions and medical needs. 156 families are interviewed and a major study is conducted to define an action plan to be implemented with our families.

Adapting to the Covid

On March 9, 2020, all schools in the country close their doors and, by the end of March, the last repatriation planes send the last remaining tourists back home. Our students return to their families and our younger pupils are kept away from the school. Disheartened at the beginning, we have to react quickly to help our families face this crisis, not knowing how long it will last.

enfant porte un masque à l'école
des légumes et du riz sont distribués aux familles

All the vegetables produced by the farmers are bought by the NGO and distributed every week free of charge to the families of our pupils, who are no longer being fed morning and night at the canteen. Our social team visits the families at home to analyze the impact of COVID on them: those identified as being in great difficulty receive rice. Distance-learning and very small group-teaching starts in April and in July we receive a donation of smartphones to improve access to online courses for our pastry students. Our teams put in motion the different projects: redesigning the website, painting the walls of the Coffee Shop, studying the situation of our alumni pastry school students, launching a database to regroup all the social, medical and pedagogical information of the students, training for the farmers and precise monitoring of the quantities of vegetables, which just keep on increasing.

tous les enfants de l'école primaire

Bounce back and move forward

All of these actions have made it possible to accompany our families and maintain a pedagogical follow-up, avoiding, as a result, too much delay with the school programs. Some families returned temporarily to their home villages to work the land as they had lost their jobs. The Cambodian people are proving to be resilient and strong in the face of this crisis and we hope that economic and tourist activity can resume as soon as possible to recreate jobs for those who really need them.

photo de groupe de la 6ème promotion
Education Throught Artistic Awakening In Primary School

Education Throught Artistic Awakening In Primary School

Gilles, our artist with a big heart is back in Bayon School. Thanks to him, and for the 5th year running, 3 weeks have been dedicated to artistic projects with the children in the primary school. This year saw the completion of a mural fresco on the wall of the infirmary, the creation of a green wall and the decoration of the new shoe racks. Read on for more details of these fabulous projects, which have proven very popular with all involved. Gilles, who has been retired for several years now, is passionate about art; he has been visiting us every year for the last 5 years in order to share his passion with the children and to awaken their curiosity.
This project is very close to our heart at Bayon School as it fits in perfectly with our desire to develop a participative education and learning experience, combining theoretical knowledge with personal development and know-how through various extra-curricular activities which we have recently introduced (PE, Apsara dance, traditional Khmer puppets and arts & crafts). For three weeks, all the pupils from Grade 1 to Grade 6 took turns to express their imagination for a magnificent end result!
Last year, Gilles oversaw three different projects whilst he was here; painting the wall of Elodie’s Canteen, making a toothbrush rack for all the classrooms as well as a fabulous cardboard model of the primary school, which was unfortunately damaged during the month of the monsoon just after he left.Gilles and our volunteers had been thinking about new projects which could, this time, be durable over time: this year’s programme includes a striking mural fresco on the wall of the infirmary, customisation of our new shoe cabinets as well as a green wall using only recycled materials. Let’s looks them more closely:

1. Mural fresco for the infirmary
For the first week of this creative workshop, the children gave the walls of the infirmary a complete make-over. The children really enjoyed reproducing the drawings provided by our very talented Sreyleak, former student of the very first intake at the Pastry School, who now works with us in the Coffee Shop. This first stage needed precision and rigour to achieve such a wonderful end result, to the great delight of Jean-Pierre and Michèle, our volunteers in charge of the infirmary and the health projects.

2. Decoration of the Shoe Racks
With dozens of small shoes discarded in front of the classrooms, the primary school looked a little chaotic and so we thought it was time to install shoe racks in front of each class. These were then brought to life by Gilles and his little helpers!

3. Green wall with recycled materials:
Last but not least, volunteers and staff joined forces to collect all sorts of recycled materials, producing an interesting mix of bicycle and car tyres, coconuts, plastic bottles and wooden planks. A touch of DIY here and a coat of paint there… and our green wall was born.

Everybody of all ages took part in the project and enjoyed themselves immensely. It was with emotion and stars in his eyes that Gilles left the school and the children. We have an inkling that, once settled in his seat, he was already thinking about the projects he could organise next year.
Thank you Gilles!

Our champions’ exploits

Set up in 2018, the sports programme at the Bayon Primary School has developed rapidly over the last two and a half years. Every week, our pupils practise different sports at school and participate in matches as well as an official regional school competition. Discover our champions’ exploits in pictures.

In February 2018, we decided to introduce weekly PE (Physical Education) lessons for the pupils from Grades 2-6 and recruited a qualified PE teacher; this was in line with our wish to offer a different pedagogical approach, based on the children’s individual needs (complimented by arts and crafts lessons) whilst expanding the traditional PE programme at the school. Since October 2018, we have extended the lessons to Grade 1 pupils. In order to continue to offer a high-quality PE programme, we also increased the number of hours in the weekly timetable 2019-20 from 40 minutes to one hour and 20 minutes.

Chuon Dorl is our qualified PE teacher, who followed a training program with the association Kampuchea Balopp, which promotes sport in Cambodia).

PE lessons are important as they allow our pupils to develop skills which are not always taught in the other subjects:

  • Team spirit
  • Self-confidence and the idea of surpassing oneself
  • Value of hard work and effort
  • Respect for others and compliance with the rules
  • A sense of initiative and responsibility
  • A senses of commitment.

These lessons are also the time for the children to let off steam and enjoy themselves whilst discovering different sports and fun activities.

At the beginning of the school year 2018, the primary pupils were all given a PE outfit of shorts and a T-Shirt, flocked with the logo of Bayon. These will be renewed in 2020. Furthermore, Bayon School has invested in the installation on the school premises of goalposts and a sand pit for athletics, as well as buying smaller items such as cones, bibs & balls.  Thanks to these investments, the children can now try out all sorts of sports: football, volleyball, long jump, high jump, running.

In 2019, Bayon School participated, for the first time in its history, in the regional school championship, which was organised by the Government for various different sports: football, basketball, volleyball & athletics. Bayon had football teams in the Boys, Girls and Mixed Teams competition.

In 2020, Bayon participated once again but with more children; 30 pupils overall took part, with the Boys’ football team and the mixed athletics team competing in the high jump, long jump, sprint, running, relay and a type of Pentathlon. Before the big event, our champions underwent specific training sessions and participated in two football matches against other primary schools, both of which they won.

In 2020, and for the second year running, our football team unfortunately did not manage to get past the first round, but we are not giving up and are already preparing next year’s competition with great enthusiasm. Our Athletics team, on the other hand, was more successful in their first participation with excellent results:

  • 1st Place in Boys Long Jump
  • 3rd Place in Girls’ Relay
  • 4th Place in Girls’ High Jump
  • 4th Place in Girls’ Sprint
  • 4th Place in Girls’ Running

The school championship is the only chance that many of our pupils have to participate in real competition conditions. It is most certainly a long-awaited event in the school calendar and they represent their school colours with tremendous pride. The popularity of the activities and the progression of the children in such a short time really underlines the importance of the sporting activities at the school and showcases its success.

For the school year 2020-21, Bayon School plans to continue investing in its sporting infrastructure, in particular a volleyball court, the renovation of the sand pit and the purchase of hurdles. In addition, we would like to register pupils in different sports in the school championship, giving more children the possibility to compete, the aim being of course to participate and have fun… whilst trying to bring home as many medals as possible!

New director for primary school

New director for primary school

Vantha HEM – On the right


In November 2019, after a rich and diverse career, Vantha HEM joined the Bayon School as headmaster for the Primary School and he has easily integrated the team. Read on to learn what motivates him and what he has been working on for the last 8 months.

Vantha, can you tell us briefly about yourself?

I am 42 years old and I have one child. I started my career as a school teacher before taking over as headmaster of the Ta Pen School (NGO Le Don du Chœur). I then worked for FRIENDS International as project manager for the reintegration of young dropouts before joining Water for Cambodia as deputy manager and head of operations.

What has struck you the most since arriving in Bayon School? And what do you appreciate the most since starting work here?

Its location! The school is located in a really exceptional place with all these gigantic trees. I have also been impressed by the fact that everything is given to the children to ensure that they can study in a good environment (canteen morning and midday, school supplies, uniform, …). I am touched by the atmosphere within the team of teachers and the solidarity between them. I also find that the pupils show great respect towards authority and the teachers. As a whole, the children are all quite honest.

What was the first thing you did?

For me, it seemed essential to get to know the children, their background and their families, in order to understand better the global project of the NGO. At the same time, I got in touch quickly with the local authorities (village chiefs, monks, …) to introduce myself. The school now participates once a month in an inter-school committee.

How do you perceive working with children who come from very poor backgrounds & whose families are very often unable to support them?

It is true that the pupils of the Bayon School are, for the most part, left to care for themselves. I worked for several years on the reintegration of young dropouts and so I make use of that experience as well as that of the current Bayon team. We work with a committee which summons the parents whose children miss too much school or who are no longer invested enough in the programme. It can be complicated to get the families to understand the importance of education. When the children fall behind and grow older (after Grade 6), it becomes delicate as they search for odd jobs to help support their family.

After eight months as headmaster of the Bayon Primary School, can you tell us about some of your achievements?

Firstly, some things have changed in human resources. Sothea has become the administrative manager and Loan the maintenance manager. Their roles are essential; I am training them and encouraging them to take on more responsibilities. The full team of teachers now takes part once a month in training programmes to help them with their teaching methods and the creation of their curricula; they are all very happy to participate. We have also implemented internal training with « school demonstrations ». Once a month, a teacher spends half a day in the class of a colleague to observe, pick up some good ideas and then introduce them in his/her own class.

We have also worked on the school surroundings and safety. I have requested that the APSARA authorities cut down the dangerous branches of dead trees and we have planted several areas with flowers and plants.

Lastly, as I was saying at the beginning, I have been working on promoting good relations between the monks from the pagoda and our team members. We are on their land and it is indispensable that we work together to ensure the future of our school.

A last question: how do you manage to keep everybody motivated during the COVID-10 crisis?

At the beginning, we split the teachers into two groups to ensure social distancing. Some worked from home, whilst others came to the school to tidy up, decorate the classes and review the preparation of the lessons. Very early on, we set up distance learning for the pupils with work they could do at home. They come in groups of 5 at a time to pick up documents which they then bring back the following week. This system requires a great deal of organisation by the teachers. We are all hoping that we can reopen the school very soon.