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What are the Current Challenges in Cambodian education system?

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posted Oct 31, 2018 in General by Nongvutha

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According to, Cambodia allocated around 9% of its annual budget into education to improve its quality. However, 83% of the funds are allocated to servicing remunerations and operation expenses, which might suggest rent-seeking in the process. That leaves little funds for schools' facilities maintenance and to provide proper teaching materials like computers and the internet.

There is insufficient staff in schools, with 58,776 teachers teaching 2,311,107 primary school students and only 27,240 teachers teaching 637,629 lower secondary students. The teacher-pupil ratio is thus very high and might result in inefficiency. In addition, over 60% of the primary and secondary school teachers received at most secondary education, which thus compromises the quality of education.

Policy implementation
Provincial/Municipal Offices of Education (POE) are responsible for supporting the ministry in implementing educational policies, preparing and submitting plans for further development of education, providing data and statistics of schools. However, there is a lack of congruence between research and policy, making linked possibly to the inadequacy of budget and research facilities that exemplifies the weakness in analytical research and development for its education system. As a result, there is a significant gap between policy formation, implementation and monitoring in the education system that does not target the specific problems that the educators and children face.

Gender disparity
Although the literacy rate and the number of girls graduating from primary school in Cambodia are increasing, the number of girls who drop out from secondary education is much higher than the number of boys. In 2008, the ratio of girls to boys in upper secondary is 75% and only 50% in tertiary education. This disparity can be partly attributed to the higher opportunity cost of sending girls to school as there will be one less helping hand to earn an extra income. The trade-off between school participation and economic activity increases as the child gets older and this trend is particularly prevalent among girls. In 2008, 23% of young women were illiterate compared to 16% of men.

Dropout rates
Statistically, from 2005 to 2009, primary school enrolment rates for males and females were at 90 and 87 percent respectively while the attendance levels are at 84 and 86 percent of the students heading to school. This suggests that not all the children in Cambodia are able to consistently attend the school's curriculum due to possibly financial reasons, health care issues and even transportation costs. In addition, there are disparities between the perceived data to that of the official administrative data rendering the primary school graduation rates. By survey, 92 percent of the children should have completed primary education until the final grade. On the other hand, formal school's administrative data suggests that only a mere 43 percent has completed primary education. The disparity in the data arises due to the means whereby a child can receive education in Cambodia, formal, non-formal and informal.

Lack of awareness
It was established at the World Summit in Johannesburg that education plays a pivotal role in achieving a nation's sustainable development. The lack of awareness for the need of education for sustainable development (ERS) is significantly apparent in Cambodia amidst the financial poverty it faces. The priorities for the nation's children dwell mainly as a contributor the family's finances and not the establishment of their education.

Tertiary education
In 2011, Cambodia has tertiary enrollment rate of 10%, which is low when compared with other nations. Cambodia's higher education lacks world recognition and is not acknowledged by QS World University Rankings.
Furthermore, there is inadequate communication between schools and corporations. This thus hinders the necessary adjustment of the curriculum to equip the students with skills to meet the demand of the labour market. Graduates find difficulty integrating into the workforce.

answer Oct 31, 2018 by Lita