Cambodia is known on a universal scale
as a fast-developing country in terms of educational reconstruction and
transformation following the 4-year reign of the Khmer Rouge’s rule in the
1970s in which much of the country’s education system and facilities were demolished. Significant progress has been made since then with a
huge expansion in the availability of schools and children’s access to
education as Cambodia recognizes education as a fundamental human right and is the
key to the country’s re-establishment and development. With the help of education,
we will not only be able to empower girls and give them their right as human
beings worthy of an education, we will also be able to fight inequality and end
extreme poverty. While Cambodia has improved overall access to basic education,
many children who inhabit the fringes of society, either because they come from
ethnic minority families or live with disabilities, still struggle to get to
and stay in class. In Cambodia, overcoming barriers of language and disability
are central to ensuring all children have an equal chance to learn and grow
together. Cambodia has an estimated 20 ethnic groups, the majority of whom live
along the country’s isolated, mountainous rim in the northeast. Most indigenous
families make a living as subsistence farmers. Most of these children do not
speak the Khmer language, and teachers, in turn, rarely speak indigenous
languages. Mainstreaming education for children with disabilities is
increasingly gaining attention and response by government officials who are
working to eliminate education disparities.
Scaling up the Child-Friendly School
approach enables Cambodia to adjust traditional teaching methods to more
child-centered and child-friendly teaching and learning practices, laying an
educational foundation in which children are stimulated and equipped with the
necessary critical thinking skills that will influence future potential. Even
though good progress has been made, learning by rote, in which children are
taught to merely repeat after their teachers without understanding context,
still continues to be practiced. Child-Friendly Schools address persistent
challenges in the education system through a holistic approach to child
development and learning.
UNICEF works with government partners to
strengthen capacities at the national and sub-national levels to deliver
inclusive basic education. They also complement the work of organizations such
as Save the Children and Kampuchean Action for Primary Education to improve the
quality of education and increase enrolment of children in school. In terms of
quality, students graduating from grade 12 need improved and relevant knowledge
and skills for technical, vocational, and higher education. Many secondary
schools, especially schools in rural areas, lack quality inputs and in some
subject areas teachers, teaching materials and equipment, textbooks, sciences
labs, computer and language labs and library packages. Teaching style currently
characterized by formal lecturing, copying, recitation and memorization will be
shifted to encourage thinking and reasoning skills; teacher standards will be
implemented to better monitor, appraise and develop teacher performance. What
has been done in spite of this issue:
The Government has recognized the importance of providing opportunities in higher education and the importance to assuring
relevance and quality.
2. ASEAN integration will provide
opportunities for collaboration
between institutions, joint research and quality standard setting.
3. Advocate for policy
initiatives that codify the rights of children from ethnic minorities and children with disabilities
to receive an education.
4. Support policies and
strategies in education that advance local governance reform, in accordance with Cambodia’s broader sub-national
democratic development process.
5. Enhance the capacity of
district authorities to provide quality support to schools through the provision of electronic tablets and an
online information and management.
6. Support to train teachers on
positive forms of discipline that are
in line with child protection principles.
7. Child-Friendly Schools model in Cambodia
promotes six core dimensions:
a. All children have access to
b. Effective teaching and learning.
c. Health, safety and protection of
d. Gender responsiveness.
e. Children, families and
communities participate in running their local school.
The National Education System supports and encourages schools to become