“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”
History of education in Cambodia
Over 40 years ago Cambodia’s education system was destroyed at the hands of the Khmer Rouge, which saw the destruction of all schools and intellectuals were executed. Although, since then the education system has been rebuilt – it still has a long way to go.
According to UNESCO, only 1.6 per cent of Cambodia’s Gross Domestic Product (GNP) is spent on education. The GDP on education in most western countries is anywhere between 5.5 to 6.4 per cent.
The number of children entering education in primary school is increasing and the gender gap is closing, however completion rates for primary and lower secondary school are low. Parents are unable to afford the indirect and direct costs of schooling and many children are required to stay home to help with chores, field work or accessing the labour market.
There is also the problem that due to the insufficient funding, there is a lack of quality education and resources. Much of the education centres around learning by rote – rather than child-led and child-centred teaching practices. Also, children often repeat years and there are many over age children in the primary system who have not transitioned into secondary education. This all contributes to the high drop out rates as children are bored and become unmotivated.
There is also a gap in the provision for early childhood education. Less than 26 per cent of three and five year olds have access to early years development opportunities. Social and languages skills are developed in early childhood and it is important to embrace this stage to facilitate their academic success.
We were lucky to have the opportunity to visit a rural State school in the Preah Sihanouk Province (photos below). The school was closed for the summer holidays but even so – the lack of resources, basic equipment, teaching materials and the state of disrepair was concerning. The library was empty – the books worn, tattered and barely usable.
Schools are frequently overcrowded so often have two shifts – one set of students in the morning and another in the afternoon.
NGO support for education is vital.
This is where the work of Edukid and Care for Cambodia comes in. Using the donations they receive they provide supplementary education in their village projects during the afternoon and each child is provided with a school pack which contains everything they need to attend school for that year. Edukid currently supports 2015 children.
It was delightful to witness the children receiving their school packs:
Here are some photos from a few of the CFC run schools we visited during our trip.
How you can help:
Through Edukid sponsorship for £20 a month:
- A school pack containing school bag, uniform and study material for one child
- One hour’s supplementary education every day after school
- Supervision and monitoring of the programme both incountry and externally
- You will receive annual reports, films and lesson plans and further teaching resources.
Alternatively you can make a one of donation via my Justgiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kistography