One of the consequences of the war in Cambodia’s history was an almost complete destruction of the country’s education system. It was only in the latter part of 1979 when massive education rehabilitation efforts were put into place. In the 1980s, a semblance of an education system, from preschool to university, was reestablished.
In more recent years, the government has implemented a long term education program to ensure equal opportunities for students of all ethnicities, socio-economic and geographical backgrounds. But despite such efforts, studies report that in Cambodia, only 33% of the students manage to finish 6th grade, due to factors like:
- The cost of secondary education, which is significantly higher than primary education.
- The children getting exposed to jobs to earn extra income for their family, or take on responsibilities at home so that their parents can work, which leads them to choose to work instead of going to school.
Education thus remains an enormous work to be done. Areas close to town centers already have access to schools. But there are still many remote areas not reached by the government, and these are the areas that the Catholic church is working on.
At present, there are 4 kindergarten centers and remedial classes centers in 5 villages and 2 floating schools, as well as regular elementary education center in 2 floating schools. These learning centers offer the following:
- Basic education to children on subjects like the Khmer alphabet, reading and writing, Mathematics and English literacy, are available for regular Elementary grades in Khmer. The Vietnamese alphabet, reading and writing for grades 1-4 is also made available in the Vietnamese floating village in Chong Khnies.
- Remedial classes for out-of-school children in 4 villages, so that they can be reintegrated into the public school system.
- General information, values education, and arts and dance lessons.
The learning centers serve as a support structure so that the children can have access to good education.