CAMBODIA: Poor quality drives us abroad - Students

Corruption, funding shortages and an obsession with profit are plaguing the quality of university education in Cambodia, students say, driving them overseas in search of masters and PhD programmes, write Shane Worrell and Chhay Channyda for The Phnom Penh Post.

If the government hopes to keep its best and brightest at home, it must resolve these issues and build a world-class university system from within, said Sim Socheata, one of three Cambodians on scholarship at the University of Melbourne, Australia, who spoke to the Post about their frustrations with Cambodian education. "It is time for Cambodians to start researching, analysing, drawing conclusions and suggesting what needs to be done," said the 29-year-old, who is studying for her masters in public health.

Obstacles hindering Cambodia's higher education system include low salaries for teachers - which force them into second jobs - lack of materials and equipment and a "mushrooming" of the private system, which has encouraged a focus on profit over quality and flooded the labour market with graduates who can't find work in their field, she said.
Full report on The Phnom Penh Post site


There is a far larger educational crisis in Cambodia. Cambodian parents often remove their girls from school before theycomplete grade 3.

Later, as young women, their lack of education makes it impossible to get a decent job and they frequently wind up in near-slave conditions and desperately poor.

The many aid organisations here only focus on children - it seems they think that once a women hits 18, she's a lost cause (educationally).

So even if the children were lucky enough to get an education, all of their income would be drained caring for their destitute parent.

Educate the mothers, on the other hand, and you also dramatically increase the chance her children will get a good education.

The only group I know of that is really helping is the Women's Library in Siem Reap, run by the US non-profit, GETSET-GO.

It is the only place many women can go to get education denied them as girls, which they can use to build an independent, dignified life.

If you really care about education in Cambodia and Cambodia's future, then you'll want to support the Women's Library and more like it.

Srey Chilat