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Comparison of teachers provision of the two regimes education essay


Cambodia is one of the oldest countries in Asia with rich of culture. Through its thousands years of history, Cambodia has its own unique ways of transfer its culture heritages from one generation to another until the present day. There are many evidences showed that Cambodia has its own education systems to educate its people. In the past, education took place in very different ways to what we have today and that can happen through words of mouth, at pagodas and their daily works.

Before the French arrives in 1863, education took place mainly at pagodas. Buddhist monks played very important roles as teachers and multi skills were taught at the same time. However, we do not know for sure how was the quality of education at that time, but if we look at the achievement that people at that time made, we can conclude that they are equipped with highly skills. Angkor Wat would not be existed or could not stand as it is today if Khmer (Cambodian) people have no used highly technic skills to build.

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After the French arrived and signed a treaty with the Khmer king (Norodom) as protectorate, the formal education has started to exist. At the very beginning, the French built only one school and that was for the King's family to study (Ayres D. Anatomy of Crisis, 1953-1998). Later on, formal education keeps increasing in term of number of schools and number of children enrolment. Gradually, formal education takes almost over the non-formal education which exists for thousands of years through the history.

In this paper we will discuss about the quality of education which provided by the governments to children in public schools. There has been a paramount endeavor for the governments from one regime to another tried to provide and provide and promote education quality. However, those efforts seem does not work well or meet what is needed and it is difference quality from one regime to another. To find out in more details about which Cambodian government is able to provide better education quality to its people from the post-colonial regime to the present government, we will compare and examine two regimes, Sihanouk regime and the Present regime or the Royal Government of Cambodia.

In order to find out which regime is able to provide better education quality to its people, we will discuss on two areas: the provision of teachers and school facilities from both governments to their people. Of course, there are more than these two areas that contribute to education quality such as national budget allocation for education, contribution from communities, and support from international communities …etc.

Does the provision of teacher met what is needed during both regimes (Sihanouk and the Royal Government of Cambodia)?

Does the government provide or build enough school to meet what is needed?

Comparison of Teachers Provision of the Two Regimes:

Sihanouk Regime (1953-1970):

After becoming an independence country from France in 1953, Sihanouk had a dream of modernizing Cambodia. To achieve his goal, there are many things need to be done. Human capital is one of the many priority things that need to be in place. Education at this period increased its size quickly in all elements, number of children enrolled, number of new teachers recruited, and number of new school building...etc. Particularly, number of teacher had increased from 3,520 in 1954/55 to 10,236 in 1960/61 for primary school and from 79 in 1954/55 to 981 in 1960/61 for secondary school (The American Aid Program in Cambodia, 1951-1961). Even though, the number of teaching personnel is increasing rapidly, but it still not meets the demand. In 1960s, in order to meet the pupil teacher ratio of 35:1 the government need to hire 18,667 new teachers (Ayres D. Anatomy of a Crisis, 1953-1998). Based on this figures, the new teachers needed is greater than what government has in place. Therefore, it is clearly demonstrated that the provision of teachers is in a crisis position for the regime.

At the same time number of teachers is increasing and in a crisis position, the number students enrolled in school is also increasing. In academic year 1954/55 there are 280,500 students in primary school and it increase to 542,676 in 1960/61 and for secondary school there are 4,202 students in 1954/55 increase to 20,401 in 1960/61 (The American Aid Program in Cambodia, 1951-1961). With this rapidly increasing, there are some problems that accompany with it such as the quality of teaching professional is clearly undermined.

In addition to the issues raised above, the education curriculum is also in crisis. After became independence, the school curriculum was still using the French curriculum which train students to Red Tape Artists (Ayres D. Anatomy of a Crisis). It was not address to what is needed for economic development. As result of the irrelevant curriculum, students graduated could not find jobs and led to social unrested.

The Present Regime (Royal Government of Cambodia):

At this period, the provision of teachers to primary and secondary schools seemed to be better but it still have problem. The provision considers to be better because the number of new teachers needed is much less than the number of teachers which is in place. In academic year2009/10, there are 82,820 teaching staff (Education Statistic and Indicator, 2009/2010) while the shortage of teacher is reportedly around 20,000. Furthermore, to address the teacher shortage, the government allows schools to hire contract teachers to work as teachers where ever needed. Community teachers, which hire, train and pay by Non-governmental organizations (NGO), are also allowed to teach in state schools.

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The teaching staff of 82,820 is a huge number compare to the previous regimes but it is not necessary that they all equipped with highly professionalism and teaching quality is better. We should note that all of these teachers have different competencies. Nearly four percent of primary school teachers have not study beyond the primary level and 45.6 percent of them completed or are still in lower secondary education (Teacher Development Master Plan, 2010-2014). With small salary (approximately $50 per month) and loosely monitor by the education authorities, some teachers may just show up to their classes late and leave early.

In order to survive with the small salary, sixty eight percent of teachers, especially, teachers living in rural and remote areas have second job (Teaching in Cambodia, by World Bank, 2008). By having second job, absenteeism from class is common. Furthermore, a study conducted by Professors Alliance for Development (PAD), Khmer Development of Freedom Organization (KDFO), and Human Rights and Development Organization (HRDO) in 2005 revealed that forty nine percent of teachers in remote areas and thirty eight percent in rural areas absent from classes in agricultural season. Moreover, fifty five percent of teachers reported do not prepare lesson plans for their teaching due to low salary (

Table 1: Comparing Number of teachers and students of Sihanouk Regime and the Present Regime


Sihanouk Regime (1960/1961)

The Present Regime


Number of Teachers



Number of Students



Pupil Teacher Ratio



Through comparing the pupil teacher ratio for both regimes, we can see clearly that the provision of teacher in the Present Regime is much better than the Sihanouk Regime. By having smaller number of students per teacher, one could infer that the quality of teaching and learning would be better as well.

Comparing the Provision of School Facilities:

Sihanouk Regime:

During Sihanouk regime, there was a great effort had been set out to provide education to its citizens. The budget for education was increased from 14.8 percent in 1962 to 20 percent in 1963. The increasing of national budget for education, allow the government to build school facilities and other areas related to education. The number of schools keeps increasing from time to time at all level and it was also expanded to provincial and rural areas. In school year 1955/56 there were 1,352 primary schools and it increased to 1,653 in the following year. In the field of secondary education, not yet a priority, the increase was proportionately even greater from 11 in 1955/56 to 18 by 1957/58 (Ayres D. Anatomy of a Crisis, 1953-1998).

Besides the government efforts to provide school facilities to its people, the United States government was also provided a huge assistance on this sector. From 1951 to 1961, the United States government assistance reached $3,606,300. With this supports, Cambodian government was able to build many schools and teacher training centers (The American Aid Program in Cambodia). There were fourteen primary and secondary schools had been built through the assistance from the US government scattered all over the county.

Despite, the increasing in number of school facility provision to the people, there is no indication that there were plenty of classrooms to accommodate the children. It is unknown about the number of children per classroom. This is the unfortunate that we not able to find out.

The Present Regime (Specifically 2000-2010):

To achieve its goal of providing quality basic education to its people, the Royal Government of Cambodia has set out a number of strategic plans and policies including Education Strategic Plan (ESP) for 2009-2013 and Child Friendly School (CFS) Policy. The main purpose of the ESP 2009-2013, which updated recently in 2010, is to achieve the goal of Education for All (EFA) by 2015 and to align the date with government National Strategic Development Plan and the government mandate. The World Conference for Education For All was held in Dakar, Senegal in 2000 attended by many governments from around the world agreed that by 2015 all people have access and complete at least primary education. However, Cambodian government has a bigger ambitious by extended the compulsory education for its people to completion of lower secondary education or basic education by 2015.

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To achieve the ambitious EFA goal, there are many things need to be done simultaneously. Building more schools and provision of teachers are among the top priorities that the government needs to take care of. As the result of its effort, the number of schools keeps increasing from time to time. In year 2000, there are 6,901pre-, primary and secondary schools and it increase to 10,115 in 2010. At the same time, number of children enrolled is also increasing rapidly. In school year 2009/10 there are 3,248,479 children enrolled increased from 2,796,773 in school year 2000/01 (Education Statistics and Indicators).

Furthermore, the provision of schools is also increasing by the assistances from foreign countries and UN agencies. In 2008, the European Union provided a grant of $57.4 million to the Royal Government of Cambodia to accelerate its action plan in order to achieve EFA goal. With this fund, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) used to build 650 school buildings, which cost approximately 75 percent of the total budget, to wherever school building is needed. Asian Development Bank, through the Enhancing Education Quality Program, is also a big provider of school construction.

In contrast to what is committed by the government to provide quality basic education to all people, the effort has been suffered by the inadequate budget and the decrease of annual budget allocation for education. The budget for education was 19 percent of the national budget in 2007 and it is decreased to 17 percent in 2009. In 2009, the education share of GDP is 1.9 percent while at minimum it should be closer to 3.5 percent (Input of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport for the NSDP updated 2009-2013).


Both regimes have been tried hard to bring quality education to their citizens. Through their endeavor, there are a lot of achievements for the sector. From time to time number of children enrolled in schools keeps increasing and simultaneously, number of schools keeps increasing as well from the urban to the remote areas. Even though the quality is not up to what we want it to be but at least students can enrolled and have place to study.

I believe it is common thing for the third world country like Cambodia that is not able to address a hundred percent to the need for education, but at least both governments have tried their best to provide opportunity for children to study. If we compare the achievement make by the current government to other countries in the region as well as in the world, Cambodia has made a significance progress toward the education for all goal. Cambodia has been grouped as Fast Track country and as result; Cambodia was qualified to receive the Fast Track Initiative Catalytic Fund (FTI/CF) from European Union in 2008.

Furthermore, Cambodian students are also made a very good achievement for their studies. Recently, three Cambodian students won prizes in an Asian-Pacific math contests in Hong Kong (The Phnom Penh Post, January 24, 2011). Other three Cambodian students won the medals on an experiment topic titled "Initiative on the solutions of energy usage" which attend by over 600 students from 60 countries. This event was held in the United States, (

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