Visit to Musisi Aphrodis

Active Projects

Educational Inclusion in Rural Primary Schools in Cambodia

Classroom observation in a rural Cambodian primary schoolField visit: Classroom observation in a rural primary school (2018)

Project duration: 2018-2023


  • School of Education, University of Aberdeen: Dr Jackie Ravet, Dr Peter Mtika, Amy McFarlane, Catriona MacDonald.
  • National University of Battambang, Cambodia: Dr Rany Sam, Hak Yoeng.
  • Battambang Teacher Education College, Cambodia: Vandy Tem, Sithoau Sambor.
  • KHEN - Khmer NGO for Education, Cambodia: Bunlee Khun.


University of Aberdeen Internal Pump Priming, GCRF Initative.


  • School of Education, University of Aberdeen.
  • National University of Battambang, Cambodia.
  • Battambang Teacher Education College, Cambodia.
  • KHEN - Khmer NGO for Education, Cambodia.

Meeting of Cambodia project partners at Battambang Teacher Education College. 2018Meeting of project partners at Battambang Teacher Education College, 2018.

Project Summary: 

This project focuses on making education inclusive for all children especially in rural and resources constrained contexts, in line with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 on equitable and inclusive quality education for all.

The first phase of the project involved a scoping study in selected rural primary schools in Battambang Province in Cambodia in 2018. This study was undertaken by 2 researchers from the University of Aberdeen working in partnership with 4 Cambodian researchers from the National University of Battambang, Battambang Teacher Education College, and KHEN. The findings from the scoping study (see, Ravet & Mtika 2021, formed the basis for the second phase of the project.

The overall framework for enhancing quality of educational inclusion in rural primary schools in Cambodia is underpinned by community participation, capacity building in inclusive practice and disability training and multi-agency collaboration.

In Phase 2 (2019), our Cambodia partners visited Aberdeen to discuss the outcomes of Phase 1, especially in relation to training needs for enhancing educational inclusion for teachers. They also visited schools to see how educational inclusion is applied in Scotland. The project team then jointly designed and planned a capacity building programme (CBP) in educational inclusion to meet the needs of practitioners in remote rural schools.

In Phase 3, the CBP was developed and implemented by the Aberdeen team. This was through a workshop on four themes, namely action research, social constructivism, inclusive pedagogy, and formative assessment. The original plan was to have a face-to-face workshop in Cambodia with our partners, especially BTEC staff, but this was not possible due to Covid-19 and the workshop was offered on-line. This aim changed with Covid-19. The new short-term aim was to address professional and intercultural development needs amongst the research team in relation to inclusive education. The long-term aim was that the Cambodian research team would then draw on this training to progress the project in remote rural schools by building capacity in educational inclusion amongst teachers, local education officers and other relevant parties in the community. The Aberdeen research team would provide mentoring and support as part of local capacity enhancement.

In Phase 4 of the project in 2022, our research partners in Cambodia, alongside local education officers, were mentored and supported in undertaking data collection through lesson observations and interviews with children, teachers and headteachers in selected primary schools to evaluate teaching and learning practices, especially regarding learners with additional support needs.

In 2023, the project team is currently collaboratively analysing the data collected with a view to identifying weaknesses and gaps in provision of education. This analysis will then inform collaborative action research with teachers to enhance educational inclusion in the next cycle of the project. Teacher agency and pupil voice will be central to this cycle to ensure that change is culturally appropriate, practical, and sustainable. Collaboration with local education officers will continue to be vital. Once the collaborative action research projects have been successfully implemented in rural primary schools, the project team intends to scale up the project.


Ravet, J. and Mtika, P. (2021) 'Educational inclusion in resource-constrained contexts: a study of rural primary schools in Cambodia', International Journal of Inclusive Education, DOI: 10.1080/13603116.2021.1916104

The Scottish literacies project – Fostering a social practice approach to adult literacies for improving people’s quality of life in Western Rwanda

Photo of group of people in graduation hats and gowns holding certificates.

Project duration: 2017 - 2022, with extension from 2022 - 2023 and further extension from 2023 - 2024.


  • Prof Pamela Abbott, Dr Peter Mtika, Dr Aileen Ackland, University of Aberdeen
  • Prof Wences Nzabalirwa, University of Rwanda
  • Ismael Byaruhanga, IPAR



Project Summary

The aim of this project is to develop, implement and embed a social practices approach to adult literacies education in Rwanda that can be managed and delivered by local institutions in order to support people's livelihood through poverty reduction and inclusive socioeconomic development.

The project has been extended until 2023.


Policy Brief: Mtika, P., Abbott, P., and Byaruhanga, I.K. (2023) 'Fostering a Social Practises Approach for Adult Literacies to Improve People's Quality of Life in Rwanda', Policy Brief Number 2, University of Aberdeen. Available here.

Infographics: University of Aberdeen and IPAR-Rwanda (2023) 'Fostering a Social Practises Approach for Adult Literacies to Improve People's Quality of Life in Western Rwanda Project', University of Aberdeen. Available here.

Press Release: University of Aberdeen (2023) 'Rwandan research project provides lesson in improving adult literacy', University of Aberdeen. Available here.

Video: University of Aberdeen and IPAR-Rwanda (2023) 'Fostering Social Practises Approach' [Video]. Available to watch:

Presentation for International Women's Day 2023: Abbott, P. (2023) 'Local and Global Challenges for Achieving Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment' [Presentation]. Slides available here

This work is licensed under CC BY 4.0