Education is to a great degree important as human’s best device for individual empowerment. It is essential to building inventive education projects to propel human advancement, peace, and democracy. the UN General Assembly announced a United Nations Decade of Human Rights Education (1995-2004) (Res. 49/184). In so doing, the universal community alluded to human rights education as a special procedure for the “building of a widespread culture of human rights”. In light of such commitments, Cambodia’s higher education framework has been developing quickly in terms of the number of higher education institutions (HEIs), particularly private colleges. Between 2001 and 2008, the number of private colleges expanded from fair two to 46, while at the same time the number of public colleges multiplied from 13 to 26. The primary reasons for this increment were the approach of public and private organization for higher education as well as solid request for higher education resulting from high numbers of understudies completing high school. By the conclusion of 2008, there were 72 HEIs in Cambodia. In Cambodia, an education framework has been put since the thirteenth century. The ‘traditional’ education was steadily changed when Cambodia was a French colony (1863-1953). The French presented a formal education framework, which was created through the autonomy period (the 1960s), alongside with the conventional education. Directly, after its change in 1996, the formal educational structure of Cambodia is defined to 12 years for the completion of common education that separates up into six years for primary education and six years for secondary common education. This detailing does not incorporate at least one year of pre-school education (kindergarten) for children from 3 to below 6 years old.
Thirty years ago, Cambodia emerged from a brutal regime that resulted in complete destruction of schools. Since then, rebuilding the country’s educational system has been a top priority, and considerable improvements have been made. However, despite these efforts, Cambodia’s education sector remains blemished by limited access to quality instruction and high dropout rates. Access to and completion of primary school, in particular, remain a pressing dilemma, as poverty and opportunity costs many children away from school. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport has increasingly demonstrated strong leadership and ownership of this approach and, along with education development partners, has demonstrated a strong commitment to increase aid effectiveness to improve the country’s education system as a whole.
Educational plans set by the government of Cambodia throughout the years
1. The first Education Strategic Plan 2001- 2005.
2. The development of the National Education for All Action Plan in 2003 (Which outlined a number of goals to achieve education for all Cambodian children by 2015.)
3. The Education Strategic Plan 2006-2010
4. The Education Strategic Plan 2009-2013
5. The Education Strategic Plan 2014-2018
The latest data for Cambodia from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) indicates that only 5% of the tertiary-age population is enrolled in tertiary education, with 7% for males and 4% for females. These GERs are quite low in comparison with other countries in the region. Both private and public HEIs charge fees and living expenses and these can have a discouraging effect on enrolments of poor and rural students. Therefore, an access and equity issue is a challenge which also requires attention.
UNICEF’s contributions with Cambodia
1. Support the Ministry of Education to adapt and implement the Child-Friendly Schools approach at the lower-secondary level.
2. Support the government to develop Child-Friendly Schools that prioritize children’s well-being and cultivate creativity by fostering inspiring learning environments, achieve gender balance, engage communities and families and ban corporal punishment. The initiative aims to get all school-age children into classrooms, despite their circumstances, and improve the quality of teaching and learning.
3. Support community mapping measures led by local government to help identify children who are not in school and work with parents to advocate for enrolment.
4. Support government capacity building in strategic and operational planning, both at the central and sub-national levels and the alignment and harmonization of Cambodia’s education sector, and enhanced aid effectiveness in education.