Education in Cambodia

Education history of Cambodia

From the early 1900’s, education has progressed at a slow pace in Cambodia. The first school didn’t open until late in the 1930s and it wasn’t until the 1950’s, that primary and secondary schools started to develop thanks to Prince Sihanouk. Unfortunately when the Khmer Rouge regime took over the country, schools were ordered to be closed down, about 90% of teachers were killed and a massive indoctrination of Cambodia’s young people began. Anyone who was lucky enough to escape went into hiding or fled to neighbouring countries.

In the 1980s, schools were re-opened during the Vietnamese occupation, however the curriculum was based on Vietnam’s history and did not reflect Cambodia and her people.

Nowadays thanks to globalisation, barriers are being knocked down and education in Cambodia is starting to improve. From pre-school to university, the possibilities and choices for Khmer people have become wide and varied. However there are still two big problems inhibiting further progression: high quality teachers who are qualified and experienced; as well as student attendance, due to the many commitments that Cambodian students have to their work and to their families. There is still so much work to be done to properly support Cambodia’s education system.

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While Cambodian teachers face issues such as salary inequality, long work hours and low resources when compared with other countries, students are also dealing with a number of disadvantages, like large classroom sizes, lower quality programs, travel distances, lack of study and learning resources, and other commitments such as work, family, etc… This unstable education system is the result of a sad and complex history, which is why many NGOs are focusing their efforts on raising the standard of Cambodian education.

In 2013, the illiteracy rate was 76% for men and 45% for women around the country. The Ministry of Education and Youth launched a program to improve education which seems to be working thanks to help of foreign aid and the development of NTICs.

Since 2009, the government has stressed the importance of quality education and has developed a National Strategic Development Plan, which includes human development and poverty reduction. Volunteer in Cambodia is also a part of this initiative through our affordable and high quality English programs for Khmer people.


English as a means to communicate

English is important as an international medium of communication for native and non-native speakers alike. A working knowledge of English allows people the opportunity to advance their career and communicate with the rest of the world, giving a competitive edge in an increasingly globalised world. English dominates the international media and is able to unite people around the world through business, entertainment, technology and tourism.

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