The problem

What problem/s are we addressing in Cambodia

Cambodia is a country of immense beauty and warmth, but the pain of its recent history lies not far beneath the surface. The legacy of the Khmer Rouge is still keenly felt, and today Cambodia struggles to meet the basic needs of its people. During the Khmer Rouge rule from 1975 to 1979, almost 2 million Cambodians died. 

The education system was specifically targeted by the Khmer Rouge, up to 90% of teachers were lost, and the education system was effectively dismantled. As a result, Cambodian education lags behind most other countries. Faced with extreme poverty, more than half the children living outside the main cities do not complete primary school, and drop-out rates are highest in rural areas, where almost 80% of Cambodians live. 

The Cambodian government has improved the quality of the education system, and in 2014 it increased the annual education budget by 19 percent. Since 2000 the net enrollment rate in primary school has jumped from 83 percent to 95 percent, and gender disparity has decreased across all education levels. Despite the improvements in primary school enrollment, only 53 percent of students continue on to secondary school. Partially, this is due to widespread child labor including farming, scavenging, garment manufacturing, sexual exploitation, fishing, and construction. Cambodia’s schools also lack basic classroom provisions and many classroom teachers aren't properly trained.

The quality of teaching in Cambodia is also poor, with less than half the current teacher having completed high school or training.  

Poor educational outcomes for Cambodian children have been recognised by the Cambodian Government. “Though overall enrollment in primary education is high, a large proportion of children are not acquiring the basic proficiencies of Khmer reading and writing and mathematics skills. Assessments show that learning difficulties start in the early grades. A series of consistent interventions are needed to improve learning of children in primary school, including on teaching approaches and practices, curriculum, and textbooks."  (Ministry of Education Youth and Sport’s Mid-term Review of its Education Strategic Plan 2014 – 2018 and Projection to 2020, 2016) 

Due to of a lack of staff, Cambodian schools are characterised by large class sizes, sometimes of mixed grades, occupied by students of widely varying ages and aptitudes, exacerbated by high levels of student repetition in lower grades. 

Particularly in rural areas, schools are poorly resourced, with many children forced to learn in overcrowded and unsafe classrooms, in schools with poor infrastructure, often including poor or non-existence toilet facilities or water.

Vital statistics

Learning outcomes

UNESCO says that 617 million children around the world aren't learning

NEP report