Universal Periodic Review of Cambodia

  • Today, the state controls education in Cambodia through the Ministry of Education at the national level and the Department of Education at the provincial level. The Cambodian education system includes preschool, primary, general secondary, tertiary, and vocational education.
  • After finishing primary school, students move on to three years of compulsory lower secondary education. Students then can continue to upper secondary education or enter secondary-level vocational training programs offered by the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training. After completing upper secondary education, students must take a national high school exam. In 2019, approximately 68% of students passed. Students who pass the exam can enrol in two-year associate degree programs, four-year bachelor’s degree programs and seven-year medical degree programs at the university. However, enrolment numbers into tertiary education are low, with only 13% of students entering the university system. All students also can enrol in vocational training programs or associate degrees.
  • In 2017, there were 7,144 primary schools nationwide and an additional ninety-six primary schools for disadvantaged students. In the same period, 46,149 staff members taught 2,022,061 primary school children. Primary education commonly starts at age six and lasts six years.
  • The Secondary Education Improvement Project (SEIP), a World Bank-funded project, has significantly improved lower-secondary education in Cambodia. It has seen increased enrolment in schools, construction of more school buildings, construction of houses for teachers in remote locations, renovation of classrooms, and installation of laboratories.
  • SEIP has trained teachers, community representatives, and people in charge of the management of schools.
  • This review will focus on areas of improvement related to the standard of learning, water and sanitation, impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and gender inequality.

By Ruth Lakica and Enes Gisi

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Cover image by Alan C. on Flickr.