Education in Cambodia
74 out of 100 people over the age of 15 in Cambodia can read and write. This is an improvement over the last 20 years, but it is still below the average in Asia, where 91 out of 100 people can read and write. The number of people who cannot write and read is particularly high among women. 34 out of 100 women in Cambodia can’t do that, that’s a third of all women. This affects people in rural areas more than people in cities.
Difficult new beginning
But since the 1980s, attempts have been made to rebuild the education system. The law in Cambodia stipulates that children over the age of nine can go to school free of charge. But a lot of school supplies do cost something, books and school uniforms for example. For example, some children sometimes only have exercise books and not even a book. However, there is no compulsory schooling in Cambodia. The teachers are often poorly paid and sometimes want money from the students. Only they often have no money. Imagine that you have to pay your teachers in your class something extra.
Why are there so few teachers?
Even today Cambodia suffers from the consequences of the rule of the Khmer Rouge. The teachers either chased them out of the country or even killed them. 90 out of 100 teachers lost their lives under the Khmer Rouge. Education was fought and the ideal of the uneducated farm worker was evoked. Therefore, the teachers who belonged to the educated class were particularly affected.
Hardly any students at universities
Most children go to primary school, but only a third go to secondary school. Chances of higher education – such as access to universities or technical colleges – have only a few, much less than in the rest of Asia. Education is often very important here. Those who can afford a private school go there, but with the great poverty of most people in Cambodia, only very few can.
Lessons in the Khmer language
The national language in Cambodia is Khmer. In Cambodia, however, there are minorities who come from other regions or countries and do not understand Khmer. For example, people from Vietnam and China who do not understand Khmer live in Cambodia. These children cannot go to school because they do not speak the national language. And their parents can’t help them because they don’t speak Khmer either.
Rain-free instead of heat-free
In Cambodia, a country located in Asia according to themeparktour, children have holidays twice a year. On the one hand, this is the so-called Khmer New Year, which is in April and comparable to our New Year festival. Only this New Year just starts in April and not in January. At this New Year, the children have two weeks of vacation, which would be similar to our Christmas vacation.
At the beginning of the rainy season, that is at the beginning of August, they have another six weeks vacation until the end of the rainy season until mid-September. But nature doesn’t always stick to the calendar. So the rainy season can sometimes last longer and this also extends the holidays.
Problems of children
High child mortality
The child mortality rate in Cambodia is the highest in the region. It is mainly the poor diet that is to blame. 45 out of 100 children do not get enough to eat.
Almost every second child between the ages of five and 14 has to work. Many children work in the brick factories in Cambodia. You work as a very young child. In the Northeast, only one in four children can read and write.
Children work in factories, for example in the clothing industry. For example, they stick soles on sports shoes. Shoe production is very important to Cambodia’s economy. Children under the age of 18 also work here. The law allows child labor from the age of 14, but actually only light activities. But what are light activities? In any case, an 80-hour week for children is no easy task!
Sometimes the children purposely make themselves older than they are in order to even get a job. Sometimes the foremen in the factories also fake the child’s age. The factory owners then usually say that they knew nothing about it. Unfortunately, this concept works very well because the children of poor families want to work to support their siblings and parents and the factories are short of workers.
There are laws that partially prohibit child labor, but it can only be fought sustainably if poor families receive financial support. When under 18s cannot find a job in the factories, there are often worse ways to earn their living. Banning child labor completely is not always the best solution.
Dependent on the support of the children
Many parents are also dependent on their children’s work. So they send their children into town to clean or look after other children. They send their children to the fields to help with the harvest and, in Cambodia, often to the waters to fish or take care of the processing and then the sale of the fish. In worse cases, the children become “flower children”. What sounds so nice and friendly is anything but nice. But what should “flower children” be?
Forced to sell
Children are practically rented out and sell flowers on the streets with sad children’s faces. Many then buy these flowers from the children at inflated prices. Most of the time the children are organized in gangs and are treated badly by the gang leaders if they have not sold that many flowers. Of course, the money does not stay with the children, but in the hands of those who treat the children badly. With luck, the children can eventually go back to their parents.