Historical context




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EDUCATION DEVELOPMENT IN CAMBODIA: 1979 - 2008
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
The Kingdom of Cambodia is one of the oldest states in Southeast Asia and it is also a member of ASEAN, the economic grouping of Southeast Asian Nation, since late twentieth century. Location of Cambodia is in the tenth and fifteenth north latitudes and between the hundred-second and the hundred-eighth east longitudes. Cambodia shares a long border with Vietnam in the east, Thailand in the northwest, Laos People’s Democratic Republic in the north and the gulf of Thailand in the southwest. Most of the country consists of a low-lying alluvial plain that occupies the central part of the country. Administratively, Cambodia is divided in twenty provinces and four municipalities. Each province is further divided into districts, communes and villages.

Within long history from the innate territory, Cambodia just had continuously injured in the more than two recent decades of civil war. However, before and after the national reconciliation 1991 under the support of the United Nations Organization, Cambodia has been recognized with her land area of 181.035 square kilometers. The country, at the present time, has a population of over 13 millions.


In the time of civil war, the heaviest tragedy the people remember was “The Genocide Crime” in the “Dark Time” which was started from 17 April 1975 and ended at the Liberation Day of 7 January 1979.
The Dark Time had trampled Cambodian society as a whole. More than 3 Million people had been killed; the rest of less than 4 Million had been all victims of Human Right abuse such as torture and abusive labor.

The Liberation day (7 January 1979) led by the Kampuchea United Front for National Salvation, brought back freedom of traveling, freedom to association, freedom to belief, freedom to life, freedom of marriages, and freedom to other basic demands.



EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM
From 1979 up to 2008, the Ministry of Education has determined the improvement of quality of Education through the reforms of Education System, School Curriculum, Textbooks and the modification of the Teaching-Learning Approach.
Obviously, there are 3 main reforms on Education System have been conducted as the following:


  • From 1979 – 1986, the Education System was introduced 10 years (4+3+3) (4 years of Primary Education + 3 years of Lower Secondary School + 3 years of Upper Secondary School).

  • From 1986 – 1996 the Education System was revised into of 11 years (5+3+3).

  • From 1996 up to the present, Cambodia implements a system of 12 years of general education consisting of six years of primary, three years of lower secondary and three years of upper secondary education (6+3+3). Basic education covers the first nine years of schooling and it is intended to meet basic learning needs and also to instill lifelong learning skills that will lay the foundation on which continuous learning can be based.

At the mean times, Teaching–Learning Approach has been modified from Teacher Centered to Student Centered.
SCHOOLING SYSTEM

The current schooling system is:



I. Pre- School

    • Lower Step (for children of 3 years old)

    • Medium Step (for children of 4 years old)

    • High Step (for children of 5 years old)

II. 9 Years Basic Education

1. Primary School

There are 6 grade levels namely



  • Grade 1 (for children of 6 years old)

  • Grade 2 (for children of 7 years old)

  • Grade 3 (for children of 8 years old)

  • Grade 4 (for children of 9 years old)

  • Grade 5 (for children of 10 years old)

  • Grade 6 (for children of 11 years old)

2. Lower Secondary School

There are 3 grade levels namely:



  • Grade 7 (for children of 12 years old)

  • Grade 8 (for children of 13 years old)

  • Grade 9 (for children of 14 years old) will be passed by exam

III. Upper Secondary Education

In Upper Secondary School, there are 3 grade levels namely:



  • Grade 10 (for children of 15 years old)

  • Grade 11 (for children of 16 years old)

  • Grade 12 (for children of 17 years old) will be passed by exam

IV. Higher Education

Schooling of post secondary education and higher education or university takes from 4 to 7 years for the children aged from 18 years old.


Selected Education Indicators 2005-2006

Educational Information



Description

Pre-School

Primary

Lower Secondary

Basic Education

Upper Secondary

Total

Schools

1,429

6,277

670

6,947

252

8,628

Classes

2,413

61,901

11,783

73,684

3,996

80,098

Teachers

2,708

50,378

18,579

68,957

6,941

78,606

Students

75,669

2,558,467

588,333

3,146,800

204,925

3,427,394


Pupil-Teacher ratio

Primary

Lower Secondary

Upper Secondary

50.8

31.7

29.5


Pupil-Class Ratio

Primary

Lower Secondary

Upper Secondary

41.3

49.7

51.3


BASIC EDUCATION CURRICULUM
This section sets out a new policy for the delivery of the Basic Education Curriculum in Cambodia within the framework provided by the Education for All National Plan 2003-2015. It sets out the aims and structure of the Grades1-9 curriculum, including hours of instruction.
The detailed content of the curriculum for Basic Education is followed:
The purpose of the Basic Education Curriculum is to contribute to the achievement of the aims of schooling in order that students can further their studies at the upper grades, participate in the vocational training or to participate in social life by ensuring that every student has acquired:

  • knowledge of Khmer language and mathematics

  • knowledge of the national identity;

  • an understanding of morality and civic responsibilities;

  • the every day life skills the enable participation in their local community life and Cambodian society;

  • a basic understanding of the natural world and of scientific principles and

  • communicative competence in a foreign language

I. GRADES 1-3

The purpose of the basic education (Grades 1-3) Curriculum is to ensure that every child has a strong foundation in literacy and Mathematics and that they develop their health, physical appearance, moral understanding, learning skills and life skills.


The National Curriculum in Grades 1-3 comprises the following subjects with the indicated amount of time allocated to each subject in which there are 40 minutes per period.

SUBJECTS

NO. of LESSONS

Grade 1-3

Khmer

13

Mathematics

7

Science & Social studies( incl. Art Education

3

Physical and health education




TOTAL

25

Local Life Skills Program (LLSP)

2-5

TOTAL

27-30

Art education (songs, drawing, dance, music…) integrated into science and social studies.



II. GRADE 4-6

The purpose of the basic education primary school ( Grades 4-6) curriculum is to expand and consolidate students’ knowledge and understanding of Khmer language, Mathematics, learning skills, life skills, moral, and personal development that will enable them to pursue life-long learning and introduce students to content in the areas of Science and Social studies.


The National Curriculum in Grades 4-6 comprises the following subjects with the indicated amount of time allocated to each subject in which there are 40 minutes per period.


SUBJECTS

NO. of LESSONS

Grade 4

Grade 5-6

Khmer

8

10

Mathematics

6

6

Science

4

3

Social studies (incl. Art education)

5

4

Physical and health education

2

2

TOTAL

25

25

Local Life Skills Program (LLSP)

2-5

2-5

TOTAL

27-30

27-30

Art education (songs, drawing, dance, music…) is included in social studies.


In Grades 5 and 6, foreign language is introduced to students according to school availability of local resources. For the first stage (2005-2009), the MoEYS encourages schools to offer foreign language using non-MoEYS resources in the LLSP time.
III. GRADES 7-9
The purpose of the basic education lower secondary school (Grades 7-9) curriculum is to provide all students with a breadth of knowledge, skills, Khmer language, Mathematics, Sciences, Social studies, Life skills, learning skills, life skills, vocational education, moral education and personal development necessary to enable them to contribute as productive members to the growth of Cambodian society and be able to further their studies at the upper grades, participate in other vocational training or to participate in social life.
Foreign languages are included as a compulsory subject for all students at lower Secondary
Pre-vocational life skills are taught as part of social studies and through the LLSP.
The National Curriculum in Grades 7-9 comprises the following subjects. Each learning period consists of 50 minutes teaching, with the indicated amount of time allocated to each subject.



SUBJECTS

NO. of LESSONS

Grade 7-9

Khmer

6

Mathematics

6

Social studies

6

Sciences

6

Foreign Languages

4

Physical and Health Education

2

TOTAL

30

LLSP (incl. Art education)

2-5

TOTAL

32-35

Students who have successfully completed the Basic Education will sit for the National Examination and be awarded of the Diploma of Basic Education.


Art education (songs, drawing, dance, music…) is included in the Local Life Skills Program.
POST BASIC EDUCATION CURRICULUM
This section sets out a new policy for the delivery of the Upper Secondary Curriculum in Cambodia within the framework provided by the Education for All National Plan 2003-2015. It sets out the aims and structure of the curriculum for Grades10-12, including hours of instruction.

The detailed content of the curriculum will be set out in the Upper Secondary Curriculum documents.


The purpose of the Upper Secondary school curriculum is not only to expand and consolidate students’ knowledge from the basic education but also to provide them opportunity for future orientation, that is, to have capacity to continue their studies at higher education or to specialize their studies or to participate in social life by ensuring that students have acquired:

  • advanced knowledge of Khmer and mathematics;

  • deep knowledge of the national identity;

  • a more complex understand of morality and civic responsibilities;

  • the every day life skills that enable participation in their local community life and Cambodian society;

  • a board understanding of the natural world and of scientific principles and

  • high communicative competence in foreign language .

In Grades 10-12, the teaching time is 50 minutes per period as in indicated in the below section.


I. GRADE 10
The purpose of the grade 10 curriculum is to expand and consolidate students’ knowledge obtained from the Lower Secondary education. In addition, school must ensure the provision of a significant subject choice advice for students to study in grades 11 and 12. The career advice provision must start from the beginning of the school year.
In Grade10 students study the following subjects for the time allocation indicated


SUBJECTS

Nº. OF LESSONS

Grade 10

Khmer

6

Mathematics

6

Sciences

6

Social studies

6

Foreign Languages

4

Physical and Health Education and Sport

2

TOTAL

30

L Local Life Skill Program (incl. Art education)

2-5

TOTAL

32-35

Art education (songs, drawing, dance, music…) is included in the Local Life Skill Program.


II. GRADES 11-12
The purpose of the grade 11-12 curriculum is to provide students with the opportunity for increased specialization through subject choice to develop a depth knowledge in particular subjects or take training-based vocational subjects in order to continue their study in higher education or to study vocational subjects or to participate in social life.
Students choose their program of study following the time allocation indicated from the subjects areas listed below.


COMPULSORY Hours taught per week

KHMER LITERATURE 6 hours

PHYSICAL, HEALTH AND SPORTS EDUCATION 2hours

FOREIGN LANGUAGE

  • Must choose one

English 4hours

French 4hours

MATHEMATICS

  • Must choose one

Basic 4hours

Advanced 8hours

ELECTIVES Each subject is taught for 4 hours per week

SCIENCES

  • May choose none, one, two, or three

Physics

Chemistry

Biology

Earth and Environmental studies

SOCIAL STUDIES

  • May choose none, one, two, or three

Morals/ Civics

History

Geography

Economics

Elective Vocational Education Program (EVEP)
May choose none, one, two, or three

ICT/ Technology

Accounting/Business Management

Local Vocational Technical Subjects

Tourism

Art Education( and other subjects)

Students who choose Math (Basic) must choose 4 subjects from the Electives

Total 16 h + (4x4)= 32 hours per week

Students who choose Math (Advanced) must choose 3 subjects from the Electives

Total 20 h + (3x4)= 32 hours per week


Students study the same subjects in Grades 11 and 12


During the initial stage, the MoEYS will endeavor to support the Elective Vocational Education Program (EVEP). The Elective subjects offered by schools will, however, depend on students’ choice, teacher and resource availability.
All students must take four compulsory subjects:

  • Khmer Literature

  • Mathematics (Basic or Advanced)

  • Foreign Languages (English or French)

  • Physical and Health Education and Sport

Students who choose the Basic Mathematics must choose four other subjects from the Electives subjects. Students who choose the Advanced Mathematics must choose three other subjects from the Elective subjects. They may choose none, one or two or three of the elective subjects from subject areas of the Sciences, Social Studies and EVEP. The maximum number of subjects chosen by students is eight (8) for students who choose Basic Mathematics and seven (7) for those who choose Advanced Mathematics.


Students who have successfully completed the Upper Secondary Education will sit for the National Examination and be awarded of the Diploma of Upper Secondary Education. Entrance to University and colleges is based on the grades achieved through the National Examination. The grades achieved for each examined subject are report on a transcript of achievement attached to the Diploma of Upper Secondary Education. The Transcript of achievement also list the EVEP subjects completed and the assessment result achieved.
TEACHER TRAINING
With regard to the qualifications of the teaching staff in Cambodia, it has been reported that teachers are not highly qualified. Around 5 percent of the Cambodian teaching staff possesses only primary education; 60 percent possess lower secondary education; 29 percent possess upper secondary certificates and only 6 percent possess tertiary education (MoEYS-EMIS Center 2004). Except for upper secondary teachers who are required tertiary education, primary and lower secondary teachers are required only a few years of training to become teachers. Normally, primary teachers are recruited and trained at the Provincial Training Colleges (PTTCs) which are located in all provinces around the country except in the remote provinces. The Provincial Teacher Training Colleges offer two years programs. Lower secondary teachers are trained at the Regional Teachers Training Colleges (RTTCs) which are located in densely populated provinces. There are six Regional Teachers Training Colleges (RTTCs) in Cambodia which offer two year training programs. The basic requirement for admission to teacher training colleges is the completion of grade 12 but there are wide variations in admission procedures. There are also geographical variations because remote provinces face problems in attracting qualified students. Because the admission requirements for teacher are not very high, the curriculum for teacher training is academically based, where a large proportion of time is spent on upgrading the trainees’ general knowledge as opposed to teaching professional skills. At primary level, teachers are trained to become multi-subject specialists while for secondary schools teachers they are trained to become single-subject specialists.
Upon completion of the training programs, graduates are nominated to be teachers and are sent directly into the classrooms. The deployment of new teachers is done centrally, normally by the personnel department through the provincial officer of education. Because of family-ties and salary condition, new teacher choose to be posted to nearby locations. This creates more problems because urban schools receive more teachers compared to the rural schools.
STRUCTURE OF EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION
The Ministry of Education also has responsibility for youth and sports development; hence the Ministry is officially called the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS).
The structure of education at the central level is based on departments. From 1998, the central administration structure were restructured and consolidated into four general departments, one general inspectorate and twenty one technical departments which presented in organizational chart below.


CONCLUSION
After three decades of civil war, Cambodian education has been progressing well from limited human resources to present rapid expansion of education which can be seen in the statistics produced such as the number of student enrolments, the number of school buildings and classrooms, the number of teachers and teaching staff. This output is reflecting efforts of the Government of Cambodia especially the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport in rebuilding human resources and improving education quality and efficiency. However, continuing efforts to standardize Cambodian education system into the region and integration general learning competencies as implemented worldwide.

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