Starting from scratch: Cambodia's education in 6 keys
|Girls near the Battambang project with which we collaborate.
What is the "Cambodian educational miracle"? Why did the education system have to be rebuilt almost from scratch? How does the country rank in the world for English language proficiency? 6 keys to understanding the situation in Cambodian classroomsAnd a proposal to collaborate!
1. A bit of history
Cambodia's recent history is, unfortunately, tied to one name: Pol Pot. Dictator and genocidal leader of the Khmer Rouge from the 1960s until his death in 1998. During his dictatorship, he established a Maoist-style state and led the notorious Cambodian genocide.
What were the consequences of this genocide? Some of them were:
- Forced ruralisation of urban dwellers.
- Torture and mass executions.
- Widespread forced labour.
During the regime, between one and a half to three million Cambodians lost their lives. This is a quarter of the country's population.
|Cambodia is still recovering from the dictatorship that wiped out 1/4 of the population.
2. The educational miracle
After the dictatorship came the "miracle". Cambodia is an example of historic success in rebuilding and transforming education. During the Maoist Khmer Rouge regime, most of the education system was destroyed. But in recent years, the number of public schools for boys and girls has multiplied. From 2001 to 2015, the percentage of children registered in primary education rose from 87 to 98%.
Yet thousands of children from poor rural families, ethnic minorities and children with disabilities are still being denied access to education. are still excluded from schools or do not complete primary education.. And the figure is even more alarming for girls.
|Cambodia's education in numbers. Source: UNICEF
3. Child labour and school dropout
Economic growth and poverty reduction affect the education of the poorest children. When work opportunities, both formal and informal, become available, many children interrupt their education. According to UNICEF, children who work more than 23 hours a week are the most likely to drop out of school.
In addition, the family environment and inadequate nutrition affect children's attention and learning abilities.
|Family climate and nutrition affect children's care.
4. Early childhood education, the big gap
According to UNICEF, there are not enough pre-schools in Cambodia to accommodate children aged 3 to 5. Only 35% of children between 3 and 5 years of age attended pre-school education in 2014/15.
5. Secondary: less than half of the population reaches secondary education.
Figures for secondary education also show considerable shortcomings. Between 2008 and 2012, only 45,9 % of boys and 44,7 of girls have completed these studies. This is still less than half of the country's young people.
|Young people in Cambodia near the project with which Tumaini collaborates.
6. No English, no opportunities
English is a key tool in both education and the labour market in Cambodia. Students who do not speak English cannot go on to secondary education or to better paid jobs. Despite this, public schools teach very little English and most private teachers are very expensive. Most families cannot afford private tuition, so their children's education remains very poor.
According to the EF English Proficiencywhich ranks the level of English in the world, Cambodia ranks 77th (out of 80) and the level of proficiency is "very low".. The average number of years of English language study is 4.7; while the Internet penetration rate is the lowest in the world: 0.7%.
|Comparison of the level of English in Cambodia versus Spain.
An empowering NGO
Since 2005, the NGO with which Tumaini collaborates in Cambodia offers free English classes to children of all ages to help them move on to a brighter future. Located in the city of Battambang, the school has more than 200 students and 8 local teachers. In addition, the project welcomes volunteers from all over the world to support the conversation classes. ¿Are you up for it??