In July, representatives of Teach For Cambodia, Teach For Vietnam, and Teach For All’s global organization joined 400 thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and changemakers from around the world at the EdTech Asia Summit in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
The Summit attracted attendees from more than 25 countries to discuss innovation, trends, challenges, and opportunities in education, with an emphasis on emerging markets and developing economies in Asia. Monirath Siv (Moni), Founder & CEO of Teach For Cambodia, and Phuc Hanh Huynh, Founder and CEO of Teach For Vietnam, participated in a panel discussion on “Empowering Educators as Agents of Change,” which was moderated by Ankana Sheth, Teach For All’s Chief of Staff in the Asia Pacific region.
As a representative of the Summit’s host country, Phuc highlighted that education inequity is not only a challenge in Vietnam’s rural regions, but also its metropolitan areas. Raised in a low-income family in a small town in central Vietnam, Phuc recognized an urgent need to ensure educational equity and excellence in his country, and founded Teach For Vietnam to build a pipeline of future leaders to address this challenge. On the panel, Phuc spoke about the importance of understanding the needs of students as well as the local communities where the Fellows teach, and noted that Teach For Vietnam’s Fellows take on additional community projects to understand the local context. Phuc emphasized that a Fellow’s journey “doesn’t just happen in the classroom, but also outside of it.” These leaders are not only agents of change to students’ academic performance, they also equip students with the skills and values they need to thrive in the 21st century.
An alumnus of Teach For America who taught in an economically-challenged city in the U.S. and is now the CEO of Teach For Cambodia, Moni agreed that in order to move the needle for kids in disadvantaged communities, educators must move beyond the classroom. The best way for teachers to learn, improve, and create sustainable change, he explained, is through interaction and collaboration with students and other stakeholders in the local community. Moni highlighted that the growth and development of children in high-need classrooms requires involvement and support from a wide group of persevering stakeholders—educators, parents, mentors, social entrepreneurs, business leaders, and anyone who cares about the challenges disadvantaged students face, and are willing to work together to make a difference. “Teaching is not about individual leadership, it’s about the student,” Moni said. “It is a collective effort to unleash the potential of children.” The power of this effort is what motivates Moni to continue working toward his vision every day—to enlist more empowered, collaborative, and connected Cambodian leaders to join this journey and help all children of Cambodia to fulfill their full potential.
Like the many other leaders and social entrepreneurs they met at the Summit, Moni, Phuc and the other representatives of the Teach For All network left the event feeling engaged, inspired, and committed to continuing to empower more agents of change in Asia to expand education and opportunity for children.
Follow Teach For Cambodia and Teach For Vietnam on Facebook for information and updates, and watch this video to learn about the challenges facing the children in Tây Ninh, Vietnam, where Teach For Vietnam’s first cohort of Fellows teach.