Friday, August 5, 2011

Quality of Education in Cambodia

Pictures of Children in Cambodia

Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education.
- John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States

If Cambodia is to achieve the lofty goals as quoted above, it is imperative that Cambodia establishes a high standard of quality with equal access to learning to all citizens. According to World Education Forum in Dakar, Senegal Committee, 26-28 April 2000, a good quality education requires:

• Healthy, well nourished and motivated students,
• Well-motivated and professionally competent teacher,
• Active learning techniques,
• A relevant curriculum,
• Adequate, environmentally friendly and easily accessible facilities,
• Healthy, safe and protective learning environments,
• A clear definition and accurate assessment of learning outcomes, including knowledge, skills, attitude and values,
• Participatory governance and management, and
• Respect for and engagement with local communities and cultures.

In Cambodia, education is a work in progress. Based on the inadequate inputs (curriculum, learning materials, teachers, principals and other educational resource persons, learning facilities and environment), the poor process of teaching-learning to reach educational goals and objectives, the deficient output (many students graduated with no real knowledge) compounded with the amount of money allocated to education and the lack of determination, there is doubt about the government commitment to improve the quality of education and provide equal access to all its citizens. However, if Cambodia is to take leapfrog forward to improve its education system, it must translate those lofty goals into lofty actions by providing equity and quality education (eliminate the culture of cheating and provide the culture of real learning) for the benefit of all Cambodian people, and not just for the privileged urban population. The government must also develop a feedback mechanism that accepts and empowers constructive criticism on evaluating if the system succeeds or fails in achieving goals and objectives.