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Higher Education in Cambodia

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Higher Education or the third level (3rd Phumasekar) of education is the education following the secondary education in higher educational establishments. Higher Education shall teach learners to have complete personality and characteristic and promote the scientific, technical, cultural and social researches in order to achieve capacity, knowledge, skill, morality, inventive and creative ideas and enterprise spirit to the development of the country. The framework and requirements of the levels of diplomas and certificates shall be determined by the Ministry in charge of Education. Higher educational establishments are of two types - university and institute. The criteria for the types of higher educational establishments and the admission requirements for higher education establishments shall be determined by the Ministry in charge of Education.

Foreign Language Education in Cambodia

Cambodia's official language is Khmer, a member of the Mon-Khmer subfamily of the Austroasiatic Language Group. 95% of the population speaks the language as their mother tongue (CIA FACTBOOK: Cambodia) and this official language is used heavily at the national level. The status of the Khmer language in Cambodia can be summarized in the words of Clayton (2006):

Early Childhood Education in Cambodia

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The Royal Government of Cambodia supports early childcare and childhood education from the age of zero to before kindergarten, generally provided at childcare centers in communities or at home. Kindergarten education shall commence education prior to primary education for preparation to attend primary school. The Ministry in charge of Education and other relevant ministries and institutions shall determine the meanings of early childcare and childhood education.

Cambodia Education System

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The Royal Government of Cambodia shall prepare a comprehensive and unique education system, which includes formal education, non-formal education, and informal education. Early childhood education is the preparatory study [level] of the education system. The education system of Cambodia is comprised of public and private education. The Ministry in charge of Education shall issue the regulation on education system.

Cambodia Education Law

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The Law on Education of Cambodia enacted by the National Assembly on the 19th of October 2007 at its 7th plenary session of the third legislature and entirely approved by the Senate on its form and legal concepts on the 21st of November 2007 at its 4th plenary session of the second legislature.

Schools in Cambodia

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Cambodia faces some serious problems in its schools due to a shortage of classrooms, an increase in the number of students and deterioration of school buildings.

Unlike many places around the world, where schools abound but teachers are few, the education bottleneck in Cambodia is the lack of buildings. One of the most powerful long term answers to child prostitution and poverty in Cambodia is to construct and jump start schools in some of the most remote and poverty stricken areas of the country.

The Children in Cambodia

In a country struggling to rebuild after years of war and strife, the people of Cambodia are working hard to create a future for their families. But recovery has been slow. Nearly half of all Cambodian children are malnourished, and one in eight dies before their fifth birthday, largely due to preventable causes.

In the passing years foreign aid from all over the world have been poured in to help Cambodia recover. Unfortunately, Cambodia is riddled with corruption and little of that money is filtering through to the people who need it the most, the desperately poor.

The Education Sector Support Program in Cambodia

The Education Sector Support Program (ESSP) 2001-2006 is the national program for education of the Royal Government of Cambodia, developed between late 1999 and mid-2001. The ESSP is directed by the medium-term Education Strategic Plan (ESP) formulated over the same period. The overall goal of the ESP and ESSP is to contribute to the achievement of the Government’s poverty reduction strategy through pro-poor systemic and targeted interventions.

There are three main objectives to increase equitable access and enrolment at all levels, improve the quality and effectiveness of education and training, and strengthen capacity for education decentralization. Recurrent budget financed priority action programs (PAPs)2 include (i) five poverty-indexed operating budget programs to primary and secondary school, technical and vocational education training (TVET), higher education, and teacher training institutions; (ii) education service efficiency rationalization; (iii) core instructional materials; (iv) continuous teacher development; (v) HIV/Aids3 awareness for in-school and out-of-school youth; and (vi) strengthening monitoring systems. Capital budget financed priority programs are education facilities development, and capacity building for institutional reform and priority program planning and management.

Structure of the Education System in Cambodia

The formal educational structure consists of six years of primary school (grades 1-6), three years of lower secondary school (grades 7-9), and three years of upper secondary school (grades 10-12). Before 1996 the structure was 5:3:3, and before 1985 it was 4:3:3. In prerevolutionary Cambodia, the educational structure was 6:4:3. Therefore, while educational provision has increased in recent years, it has not yet reached the level of the period prior to the rule of the Khmer Rouge. Higher education is available at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, the Royal Agricultural University, the Royal University of Fine Arts, the Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Law and Economics, the Faculty of Business (National Institute of Management), the Institute of Technology of Cambodia (formerly the Higher Technical Institute of Khmer-Soviet Friendship), and the Maharishi Vedic University (an Australian-funded institution in rural Prey Veng Province). Private education exists at all levels of theeducation system. In primary and secondary education, private schools have been opened by ethnic minority communities as well as for the children of the relatively small wealthy expatriate community residing in Cambodia. Private higher education is available at Norton University and at a number of other institutions, such as Regent College. Also, there is a flourishing industry, especially in Phnom Penh, in unregulatedprivate schools that offer students instruction in foreign languages and computer skills.

Strategy For Promoting the Use of ICT in Education

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The medium-term objectives from 2004 to 2010 include: to develop an ICT infrastructure and provide hardware for all levels of educational institutes and centers for the purposes of education and training; to prioritise human resource development to meet the requirements of the ICT and education sectors; to use ICT as a teaching and learning tool to promote skills in research, communication, problem solving and innovative thinking; and to raise administrative efficiency through the use of ICT for educational management.

Human Resource Development

The medium-term strategies for human resource development include: the establishment of courses for ICT professionals in higher education; the training of all teacher trainers in ICT use for professional development and administration; updating the primary and secondary school teacher-training curriculum to include ICT use for professional development, administration, teaching and learning; promotion of ICT-based research and independent/lifelong learning activities in all educational institutions; and training a minimum of one staff member from each educational institution in computer repair and maintenance.

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