Scholarship Program At Basic Successes And Challenges Education Essay

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1.1 Socio economic in Cambodia after 1979

The civil war has jeopardized the social and economic development of Cambodia. Most of the social structures and rural infrastructures were completely destroyed during Khmer Rouge, especially educational sector, which is the most important for developing the country (Duggan, 1996, p.363). Furthermore, Socio-economic environment for most of households after Khmer Rouge was often very difficult for sending children to school (Ayres, 2000, p. 156).

In 1994, the country had nearly 5.2 million people below age 15 or about 47 percent of the total population. The size had been little down to around 5.1 million in 2004 and its share of the total population had fallen to 38 percent. These changes in the population structure have first affected the need for primary and secondary schools. Some 3.7 million - 55 percent, of the population aged 5-24 years were enrolled in the formal school system in 2004 - increased from 46 percent in 1999. Adult literacy rate, population aged 15 and over, is 60 percent for women and 80 percent for men. The same study stated that 43 percent of women aged 25 and over have none or only some education (not completed first grade) ( socio-economic survey 2004).

Since 1980 there was a 15-year period with high fertility and strong population increase. After 1995 there has been a rapid decline in fertility and mortality. According to the population projection the Cambodian population was predicted to be 15 million in 2010 (National Institute of Statistics of Ministry of Planning, 2009, pp. 5).

"Educational expenses per student for one school year include school fees, tuition, textbooks, other school supplies, gifts to teachers, and contribution to building funds. Households estimate educational expenses to below 50,000 riels (US $10) for pre-school and primary school students, for upper secondary to 393,000 riels (just below US $100), for technical/vocational 1.1 million riels (just above US $250), and for university 2.1 million riels (just above US $500)" ( socio-economic survey 2004)

1.2 History of Cambodian Education after 1979

Following consultant from UNICEF to monitoring Cambodia education in 1980 identified there were main three dimensions including crisis of qualify - shortage of qualified teachers and officials, crisis of orientation - a critical conflict and contradiction between the goals and structure of the system of existing educational system, and crisis of timing - under technical supported by Vietnamese advisors to do many things in very short period (Ayres, 2000, p.132).

Another study by CONCERN in 1991 found some challenges of education in that time including inadequate training and salary for teachers and educational officials, no main text books and other materials to support teaching, not enough school buildings for students, and high dropout rate. Other main problem related to education for central level at that time was poor educational quality and irrelevant curriculum. Other study at provincial level by Redd Barna also found that low rate of attendance, low achievement of students, challenges of integrate into schools for those whose are former refugees (Ayres, 2000, pp. 156-157).

Even after general election in 1993 under supported by UN, quality of education service provided for basic education levels is still in a serious condition caused by the lack of resources, inappropriate-trained teachers, poor managed system, almost no teaching and learning materials and irresponsibility (World Bank, 2008, p.11).

Even, there have been considerable changes recently, educational system will not reach an international education EFA goals by 2015, because the number of "dropout and repetition" in primary school level is still high. The "repetition rates" in primary dropped from 26.3 percent to 10.2 percent between 1998 and 2005. In addition, drop-out rates in primary school is less than in secondary school (MoEYS, 2008, p.8).

Recently, Cambodia has expanded national budget from 0.9 percent in 1997 to 1.5 percent in 2006 (MoEYS & World Bank, June 2008, p. 59). Also, the government has promised to increase salary for all teachers from 15 percent to 20 percent every year but the exact amount is still very low in comparing to inflation recently and daily expense (MoEYS & World Bank, June 2008, pp. 59-62).

Educational system in Cambodia consists of elementary school (grade 1-6), junior high school (grade 7-9), senior high school (grade 10-12) and university and other institutions of higher education. Compulsory education is until grade 9 (The Council for the Development of Cambodia, 2011, p. I-2).

This research will focus on the following questions:

Why does MoESY need scholarship program at basic education?

What are the main successes and challenges of implementation scholarship program at basic education level?

How does MoEYS implement scholarship program at basic education more effectively?


2.1 Overview of scholarship program

KAPE: It was the first scholarship formally lunched in Cambodia since 200 and it covered 15 secondary schools in Kampong Cham province only but it was for only girls. The main reason of initial this program because only one of five girls can intake into lower secondary schools in Kampong Cham province and as result in over 3,000 vulnerable girls and boys in schools nowadays (KAPE, 2008, p. 4). However, girls other provinces were similar or more serious than situation in Cambodia, it would be better if the project expands to other schools and province to allow other girls to get benefit from it and increase number of girls to have broad knowledge and can challenge with men in society both public and private sectors.

PAP12: Scholarships and Incentives for Equitable Access. A major component of this programme was a scholarship scheme for lower secondary students, targeted particularly at girls in poor areas. The program stared in 2003-04 (BETT, 2004, p. 1) and covered to 30 scholarships each school of 215 lower secondary schools in 16 provinces (Mar Bray & Seng Bunly, 2005, p. 24 & 72). If we have a look of total number of each school, which covered by this program, it was very small in term of education in Cambodia right now because there about 19.5 percent of urban people in 2009 (Asian Development Bank (ADB), Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2010). The coverage schools and provinces, and total numbers of scholarships each school were far away from total of students in each secondary primary school even in rural and remote areas. The students are out of target provinces were suffered from exclusion and even some schools in Phnom Penh would be covered.

JFPR in conjunction with ADB: Stared in 2003-04 (BETT, 2004, p. 1) and targeted 93 lower secondary schools in 21 provinces and provided 75 scholarships for each target school (Mar Bray & Seng Bunly, 2005, p. 72). If we have a looks total of provinces were likely very broad but in term of total targeted schools were very small coverage, thus, it would be better if the program could cover the schools that not covered by PAP12 to allow another poor and poorest children to have an opportunity to get scholarship.

BETT: stared in 2003-04 (BETT, 2004, p. 1) Funded by BTC and targeted 80 lower secondary schools in only three provinces and provided 30 scholarships each school. It was too small for both coverage provinces or schools and even number of scholarship for each school, thus, it would be not most affect for overall basic education in Cambodia recently.

CESSP: This was a formal program after integrated of main scholarship programs for lower secondary schools in Cambodia to avoid any overlap schools or even recipients but it still covered only 100 lower secondary schools (including newly-established schools) in 21 provinces (BETT, 2005, about the project). Although MoEYS found the good way to implement scholarship program ore effective but it was still not good enough because coverage schools and provinces still limited. In order to know that scholarship would be more effective to improve education in Cambodia, especially at basic education level, the program should be covered all lower secondary schools at nationwide or to all poor and the poorest children.

2.2 Successes

2.2.1 School enrolment

CSP had a critical effect on school enrollment and attendance. Recipients increased 16 percentage points of enrollment in school, 17 percentage points increased of attending on the day of the unannounced visit; spend more time in school. Based on the survey stated that one out of every five recipients would not have been in school in the absence of the program, with on-time grade progression, therefore, it would expect that every fifth recipient would have completed one more year of schooling than comparable non-recipients (Deon Filmer & Norbert Schady, 2009, pp. 12-17)

2.2.2 Target beneficiaries

The program was correctly emphasized family poverty and gender priority to make sure equity of access to basic education and gender imbalance in enrollment. The scholarship also provided dormitory to explore the new ways to encourage students at high-risk to continue their study at lower secondary school - a case in Rattanakiri province. Furthermore, the program achieved extremely reduced drop-out rates of students as much as 60% than general 7th grade rated in comparing to non-recipients schools. However, total amount that support by project recently was not enough for each recipient yet that some of recipients still dropped out even in period of implementing period (William Collins, 2007, pp. 47-48).

2.2.3 Impact on work

The study stated the recipients were about 10 percent unlikely to work for pay and the study also mentioned that about 37 percent of girls and about 31 percent of boys who did not scholarship recipients work for pay in seven days before the study was conducted. Furthermore, many scholarship recipients stayed in school longer than non-recipients (Deon Filmer & Norbert Schady, 2009, p.2).

2.2.4 Conditional Cash Transfers (CCTs)

The CCTs program impacts on a variety of outcomes including school enrollment. However, positive impacts may refer to amount of cash transfer and this way is undertaking by many developing countries in the world. It would also reduce poverty or support poor family. The same study stated that children who received larger transfers did better than those who received smaller transfers in other dimensions - even the study found that all recipients were brought into school as a result of programs (Deon Filmer & Norbert Schady, 2009, pp. 12-13)

2.2.5 Impact on other children

There were major two groups who could have been directly affected including siblings of scholarship recipients, and children who did not receive scholarships because their dropout score placed them above the cut-off for eligibility. The siblings of scholarship recipients could have benefited from the program since each household could use the same benefit for other children or other purpose. Non-recipients who were enrolled in the same schools as recipients may change some disadvantages attitude in order to have an opportunity to get scholarship for next academic years. However, the results suggest no such effect: the school participation of non-recipients is unaffected by the relative size of the incoming cohort of scholarship students (Deon Filmer & Norbert Schady, 2009, p.2)

2.2.6 Monitoring and training

In scholarship program of BETT was hired full time staff unlikely JFPR or CESSP, who their staff members were part-time basic. Also, BETT coverage was smaller than either the JFPR or CESSP that allowed staff members have time to conduct visits to many target schools and that allowed BETT to know more detailed about issues happened within recipients. Due to budget, transportation and time constraints, the project really need external assistance to support monitoring such as technical officials from MoEYS, PoE and DoE but it was encountered that the relevant officials were unlikely had full experience or skillful about that matter yet (William Collins, 2007, pp. 53-54).

BETT approach of a dedicated full-time team, with NGOs training background, willing to use external NGOs assistance in the training exercise, achieves higher quality results of the implementation. Orientation to parent about the program was also benefited and positive impacted as well as enhance accountability of school officials and ensure right policy practice. Also, improved communication between parents and schools officials would reinforce community support for local schools (William Collins, 2007, pp. 54).

2.3. Challenges

2.3.1 The mathematics and vocabulary ability

The study was focused on the two main parts including numeric and capacity of understanding works through MoEYS curriculum and textbooks. The target children were both recipients and non-recipients, the results stated that both recipients and non-recipients are the same if those students access the school regular and no absence. However, the study also covered to out-school children and the finding stated that children who had completed more schooling have higher test scores - in both mathematics and vocabulary, and children who dropped out of school before completing 7th grade may have lower ability than those who stayed in school beyond than that grade (Deon Filmer & Norbert Schady, 2009, pp. 8-10).

2.3.2 Coverage areas

The overall scholarship programs implementing in Cambodia were not for nationwide yet even PAP12 - manage and implement by MoEYS, just covered 215 lower secondary schools within 16 provinces only and provided only 30 scholarships for each target school. Secondly, JFPR in conjunction with the ADB covered 93 lower secondary schools in 19 provinces and could just cover 75 scholarships for each school. Thirdly, BETT Project supported by BTC covered in 69 lower secondary schools in three provinces and covered only 30 scholarships to each school (Mar Bray & Seng Bunly, 2005, pp. 71-72 and BETT, 2004 & 2005, p. 2). Another one by KAPE, local NGO, just covered 21 lower secondary schools in Kampong Cham province only (KAPE, 2008, p. 4)

2.3.3 Target beneficiaries

The four scholarship programs as brief description in part of Coverage Areas (2.3.2) stated that the program started coverage students at lower secondary schools in selected provinces and areas within Cambodia (KAPE, 2008, p. 4). Following indicators 2006-07 of MoEYS stated that net enrollment ratio about 92.1 percent at primary but it was only 33.7 percent at secondary (MoEYS, 2006-07, indicators 2006-07), thus, about 58.4 percent was dropped out at that academic year and most of drop-out would be children from poor and poorest households and some. BETT scholarship program aims at increasing transition for poor and vulnerable children from primary to lower secondary and promoting progression through lower secondary education in the three targeted provinces. But the same report stated that the program excluded certain categories of applicants, for example, children of government families, who excluded by the JFPR design and initial BETT design but not excluded in the CESSP design. In the third year of BETT implementation, the exclusion was dropped. The exclusion would have two negative impacts because governmental families were not all poor even teachers as many as local poor applicants or it would be risk to become politicized and used as an additional way to reward government and party official at the local level (William Collins, 2007, p. 12 & 48).


Generally, the scholarship programs were implemented by MoEYS and other partners were very good for students at lower secondary schools across Cambodia and the program would help to reach EFA and basic education policies by 2015 following the commitment of government and MoEYS as well as global target. It also allowed poor and the poorest children have an opportunity to continue their study without give more burden to their family and parents as well as reduce government burden, too. Although implementation period was usually short time and even policies implementing of each institution was unlikely the same but the recipients could get benefit from the programs mainly increase enrollment, increase participations, stayed longer period in schools than before or non-recipients. Even recipients were not better in term of mathematics and vocabulary in comparing to non-recipients, who not absence, at least the programs could keep low-ability students in schools and made change some non-recipients to take into account of learning and participating in schools.

The scholarship programs likely started and ended the same period and some of them were overlap target schools and provinces but they had own difference policies for implementation, thus, it was negative affect to recipients and beneficiaries as well as negative affect to whole programs. Moreover, school directors, DoE, PoE, who regularly involved with the program would not be clear at all that was possibly to delay some activities, too or spent a lots but got very little.

In order to implement the program more effective, all relevant stakeholders would integrate and share responsible each other first and find the common ways or try to adopt policies to be similar or the same first to ensure recipients and relevant stakeholders would be clear and full understanding. Also, it would be great if all implementing institutions can divide provinces or target schools of coverage. The last, but not at least, all poor and the poorest or the most of them would be covered and support it would be better and it probably find the right ways of improve education in Cambodia, especially at basic education level.


Name: Cham Soeun Date: March 18, 2011

I prepared the following assignment by myself and only with the help of the literature mentioned in the references. I did not use other literature to write my assignment. I know that plagiarism is a serious offence and I am totally aware of the negative consequences.


Cham Soeun