Cambodia has made leaps and bounds with their education system, particularly when rebuilding the nation after the Khmer Rouge regime, however they are still much behind the standard of Western education. There are insufficient staff in schools, resulting in many classes consisting of up to 90 students. Students attend school for half a day from Monday through to Saturday. Due to the low salary of teachers, they often do not turn up to class, as they hold ‘extra classes’ for students, where they charge money to teach the additional curriculum which is required knowledge for exams, but not taught in regular class time.
In addition to this, it is reported over 60% of primary and secondary school teachers received, at most, secondary education, which compromises the quality of education. In rural areas there is a scarcity of schools and classrooms, resulting in a limit to the number of children who are able to be educated. Although public school is deemed ‘free’, it is far from it. Students must wear a school uniform, or they risk punishment from the teacher. Students must also have one notebook per subject, or they are not allowed to attend class. They have to pay money each day for photocopied resources. They must also pay for textbooks and exam papers. A monthly fee to the teacher is also required. If they are fortunate enough to reach Grade 12, they must also pay funds to receive a certificate of completion. Corporal punishment still exists in schools in Cambodia. With all these factors, it is understandable why only 8% of the population have gone on to complete tertiary education.
*Srey graduated from our preschool class in 2014. At the end of 2015 she came back to HHA to study in our Khmer language classes whilst her younger sister studied in preschool. We awarded her a scholarship due to the extreme poverty in her family, and worked closely with her mother who was committed to riding her children to HHA on her bike on a 6km round journey every day. Srey has really come out of her shell and proudly wears her scholarship bag to school every day. She is thriving in class thanks to not having to worry about her study resources.
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