Education reforms in Cambodia: issues and concerns

Original Paper


This paper discusses the key issues and concerns in the Cambodian government’s efforts to implement three priority education policies for 2006–2010: ensure equitable access to education; increase quality and efficiency of the education services; and promote institutional development and capacity building for decentralisation. This paper identifies the prevailing problems of low enrolment, high dropout rates and high repetition rates of students in public schools. The paper further explores some concerns which may hinder the government from achieving the desired outcomes in the priority policies: the high opportunity cost of schooling; the heavy education costs due to teachers charging informal fees from students; and the localised socio-cultural setting where transparency, accountability and meritocracy are difficult to achieve.


Cambodia Concerns Education policy Issues Reforms Decentralisation 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ayres D.M. (2000). Tradition, modernity, and the development of education in Cambodia. Comparative Education Review 44(4): 440–463CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Drucker P.F. (1993). Post-capitalist society. New York, Harper BusinessGoogle Scholar
  3. Duggan S.J. (1996). Education, teacher training and prospects for economic recovery in Cambodia. Comparative Education 32(3): 361–375CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dunnet S.C. (1993). Cambodia, overcoming hardship, rebuilding its education system. WENR: World Education News and Reviews 6(2): 20–23Google Scholar
  5. Dy, S. S., & Ninomiya, A. (2003). Basic education in Cambodia: The impact of UNESCO on policies in the 1990s. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 11(48). Available online at: epaa/v11n48/ (accessed 12 January 2005).Google Scholar
  6. Matthews, V. (2006). Cambodia: Positioning for 2008. In D. Singh & L. C. Salazar (Eds.), Southeast Asian affairs 2006 (pp. 73–89). Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.Google Scholar
  7. MoEYS & UNICEF. (2005). Expanded Basic Education Programme (EBEP) (Phase II) 2006–2010: A joint MoEYS/UNICEF proposal submitted to Sida. Phnom Penh: Authors.Google Scholar
  8. MoEYS. (2001). Education strategic plan 2001–5. Phnom Penh: Author.Google Scholar
  9. MoEYS. (2004). Education strategic plan 2004/08. Phnom Penh: Author.Google Scholar
  10. MoEYS. (2004). Policy for curriculum development 2005–2009. Phnom Penh: Author.Google Scholar
  11. MoEYS. (2005). Education strategic plan 2006–2010. Phnom Penh: Author.Google Scholar
  12. Morris, C. (2000). Peacebuilding in Cambodia: The role of religion. Available online at: (accessed 24 July 2006).Google Scholar
  13. Ng P.T. (2003). The Singapore school and the School Excellence Model. Educational Research for Policy and Practice 2(1): 27–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ng, P. T. & Tan, C. (2006). From school to economy: Innovation and enterprise in Singapore. The Innovation Journal: The Public Sector Innovation Journal, 11(3), article 5, 1–12.Google Scholar
  15. Ohmae K. (1990). The borderless world. New York, Harper CollinsGoogle Scholar
  16. Pellini A. (2005). Decentralisation of education in Cambodia: Searching for spaces of participation between traditions and modernity. Compare 35(2): 205–216Google Scholar
  17. Pheng D., Savonn H., Soly Y. (2001). Educational financing and budgeting in Cambodia. Paris, UNESCO International Institute for Educational PlanningGoogle Scholar
  18. Roberts D. (2002). Democratisation, elite transition, and violence in Cambodia. Critical Asian Studies 34(4): 520–538CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Tan, C. & Ng, P. T. (in press). Dynamics of change: Centralised decentralisation of education in Singapore. Journal of Educational Change.Google Scholar
  20. The World Bank & ADB. (2003).Enhancing service delivery through improved resource allocation and institutional reform - integrated fiduciary assessment and public expenditure review. Washington DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
  21. The World Bank. (2005). Cambodia: quality basic education for all. Washington: Author.Google Scholar
  22. Thomas C.J. (2002). Education notes: achieving education for all in post-conflict. Cambodia, Washington, The World BankGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Policy and Leadership Studies, National Institute of EducationNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

Personalised recommendations