IDP Education and its Language School, ACE, Support Frontline Efforts against COVID-19



Since the COVID-19 pandemic began over a year ago, IDP Education (Cambodia) and its English language school, the Australian Centre for Education (ACE), have been at the forefront of efforts to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all staff, teachers, students, their families, and the wider community throughout Cambodia.


ACE’s six campuses have strictly enforced government and WHO standard operating procedures (SOPs) from the start, on social distancing and hygiene, temperature checks, distribution of hand sanitizers and face masks, deep cleaning regimes, contact tracing and work from home practices. This process was supported and guided directly by visits and inspections by the Minister of Education himself, HE Dr Hang Chuon Naron, health experts from the Health Ministry and WHO and Australian embassy representatives last year.


While the recent community outbreak continues to see a high number of COVID-19 cases on a daily basis, and despite the current city lockdown this week, over 90% of ACE staff and teachers received their second Covid shot, swiftly organized by the Royal Government and Ministries of Health and Education, and provided free of charge to both local and expat employees. According to the United Nations, Cambodia is one of only a handful of countries to prioritise vaccinations for teachers.


Many teachers shared their positive vaccination experiences on social media (“It didn’t hurt!”), to motivate followers to get vaccinated, minimize the spread of infection, and protect their families and friends. At the request of the government vaccination teams, ACE has provided a large, shaded, open-air parking area on the ground floor of one of its campuses in Phnom Penh (Chak Angre campus) to be used as an extra vaccination centre to speed up the distribution of shots and boosters in the local community during the current city lockdown period. ACE has also provided drinking water, lunch boxes, and drinks to vaccination teams of three other centres operated by the Education Ministry.




Brig. General Yung Khemera, in charge of the vaccination centre, expressed her appreciation to ACE for the vaccination space and support provided citing that the location, the large shaded, open air space as just perfect for the purpose.


Last week, the ‘ACE Khmer New Year: Stay Home, Stay Safe’ Facebook initiative organized to encourage social distancing and for people to stay at home during the New Year holidays, attracted more than 500,000 viewers over the holiday period, with cooking classes, dance coaching, English lessons, Taekwondo coaching and meditation sessions by international and some of Cambodia’s leading experts.


Australian ambassador to Cambodia, HE Pablo Kang, gave his support to the initiative in a pre-recorded video saying, “I would like to thank ACE for hosting the Khmer New Year: Stay Home, Stay Safe, skills and entertainment initiative to bring health and cultural awareness to the public during this unprecedented time.” In his New Year address he went on to recognise the work of authorities in fighting the pandemic. “I wish to recognize the efforts of Cambodia’s frontline health workers, hospitals, government, business and civil society representatives to combat the virus, and of all Cambodian citizens who are making sacrifices, complying with government guidelines, to help control the spread of COVID.”




HE Dr Phoeurng Sackona, Minister of Culture and Fine Arts, HE Dr Ing Kantha Phavi, Minister of Women’s Affairs, and HE Chea Serey, Director General of the National Bank of Cambodia, all praised the ‘Khmer New Year: Stay Home, Stay Safe’ initiative and sent video messages to launch and encourage participation in the program. "I would like to congratulate and support ACE for hosting the Skills & Entertainment program which demonstrates that learning can still take place despite the current difficult situation," commented Dr Phoeurng Sackona. Dr Ing Kantha Phavi was keen to stress strict public adherence to the government's 3 dos and 3 don'ts while staying home, and to take the opportunity to participate in ACE's virtual Khmer New Year program.





Like every organization around the world, ACE has been hugely impacted by the pandemic. However, all classes, student placement services, enrolment, registration and payment facilities have seamlessly moved online, mitigating the repercussions of infection and the latest challenges of lockdowns and red zones. Dedicated hotline support teams are in place to provide advice and technical assistance to students online.


Staff have become experts in pivoting to digital delivery at short notice, leveraging the world’s leading education platforms and Learning Management Systems (LMSs) to makes students’ learning better than ever. 300 ACE teachers are now providing robust, quality English language courses from the safety of their own homes, supported round the clock by a team of IT specialists and Customer Service Officers online, to make the learning journey as simple and effective as possible and ensure no ACE student is left behind with their studies.


ACE and IDP Cambodia Country Director, Mao Sreng, lauded praise on the teamwork and shared commitment of staff and stakeholders, in maintaining services uninterrupted with over 50,000 students over the past 12 months and with health and safety always the number one consideration.


“I am proud of the way our teams in Cambodia have worked tirelessly to make virtual, online learning function on such a large scale. By switching confidently from F2F to blended to online classes instantly, the team has created lasting inter-departmental networks of co-operation within our organization. The work and agility being demonstrated is phenomenal, to drive the highest standards of education and safety for our students, teachers and employees,” said Andrew Barkla, CEO, IDP Education – a global leader in international education and student placement services.




According to ACE Principal, Ashley Irving, ACE continues to offer regular scholarship opportunities in support of families currently experiencing financial hardship. Since March, 2020, ACE (in conjunction with the Education Ministry) has awarded 2,000 full scholarships to learners from across the country through its digital scholarship program, along with 3,000 other partial scholarships as port of its CSR programs.


During current lockdowns, ACE continues to offer a wide range of market-leading products and English language programs, including General English, IELTS Preparation, academic and professional ACE Diploma courses, and Customized Training for organizations including governments, embassies and NGOs. Over three decades since established by IDP in 1992, ACE has consistently maintained its international standards (named among the world’s top language educators at the London PIEoneer Awards in 2018; HR Asia Best Companies to Work for 2020), and continues to ensure highly qualified teachers are delivering world-class services.


For more information on ACE’s online courses:

Share this article