Arts Education in Cambodia
Cambodia has gone through several chapters of history. Some of these have been happy, while others have been very bitter and painful, particularly those of the past three decades or so. The painful years started with the genocidal regime of the communist Khmer Rouge, which moved the history of Cambodia back to the year Zero. On the one hand, Cambodia has suffered a loss of culture, and on the other, some of the elite, fascinated by Western models, are losing their Khmer (Cambodian) way of life as they consider themselves to be totally different from the majority who are still traditionally conservative.
The principal theme of this article is a general overview of the state of arts education in Cambodia. The significance of arts and culture in Khmer society and the structure of arts education in the school system from primary to secondary and higher education is here examined and discussed. Insights are offered on how the arts are taught in the general school curriculum and their impact on investment in the youth, the education of the mind, the further development of Khmer arts and culture and economic development and growth in relation to arts education. I propose to examine the multi-faceted role that culture plays in social and economic development within the global context of the new millennium, focusing particularly on the value of Khmer culture, trends and possible future directions and cultural policies which are responsive to the needs of Khmer society and appropriate to it.
KeywordsTraditional Culture Cultural Policy Khmer Rouge Cultural Programme Traditional Music
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