The Current Issues of Education in Cambodia

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Education plays very important role in the society. One country can be developed based significantly on the variety of Human resources. Anyway, the only way to get rid of Human Resources is Education. Thus, people have tried their best to find way to educate people in order to gain Human Resources for working and serving in the society. Cambodia is one of the countries in the world that has its own tradition of Education. Thus, how did Cambodia produce its human resources in the past?

A system of education has been in place in Cambodia since at least the thirteenth century. This traditional education system was centered on local temples and involved teaching students about the foundations of religion, basic literacy, and skills such as carpentry that were relevant to the rural life of most Cambodians. While this nonformal system endured after the arrival of the French in Cambodia, it was gradually replaced by a Westernized educational model. The French authorities did not pursue this modern education system with any great enthusiasm and seemed unwilling to devote the educational resources that were needed to meet local demand. The educational heritage of the colonial period in Cambodia was the importation of the Western idea of a formal school system and the gradual undermining of its traditional counterpart. The colonial era introduced to Cambodians the idea that education could lead to upward social mobility. It was a realization that led to extraordinary demand for access to education in the years that immediately followed independence.

There were so many problems existed in education sector in Cambodia and it is still remain existing in present day such as the inequality of participation between boy and girl at school - poor attendance by girls at school, widespread difficulties in communications; the problems of hygiene and water supply within education facilities, and lack of trained educational personnel. The country's teachers, who are grossly underpaid, have resorted to charging their students unofficial fees. Many are spending less time in the classroom as they seek additional employment elsewhere. Almost 20 percent of students in urban areas, and 26 percent in rural areas, have repeated at least one grade at school. From every one thousand students who begin primary school, only twenty-seven will graduate from upper secondary school. Girls, students from remote areas, and the poor are all grossly underrepresented in education statistics. With these significant problems as a backdrop, and the school-age population continuing to grow, the Cambodian government still denies the education sector the funding it needs to realize its important role in Cambodian society. The education system in Cambodia continues to be overwhelmed by many difficulties, including an acute shortage of qualified teaching staff, poor morale due to low salary levels and lack of suitable teaching materials. Attendance at school remains limited in rural areas since children are often expected to stay at home and help their families in the fields.

What methodology did Cambodia use in Education?

Cambodia conducted the teacher-centered in teaching and this methodology keep conducting until the last few decades which there were some changes in Education Curriculum. In the past, students were strictly forced to learn by their teachers and most of time they were punished by various activities including violent. Therefore, many students were frighten and afraid of their teachers and finally decided to drop out of school. Nowadays, student-center methods are accepted but it not completely implemented effectively due to the lack of qualified trainers and teaching aids.

II. Biography of Friedrich Froebel

Life of Friedrich Froebel

Friedrich Froebel, a German Philosopher, was born on April 21, 1782 in Oberweissback, Germany; Friedrich was the youngest of six children. Friedrich's mother died when he was still an infant, and his father, a pastor, left him to care for himself. When he was ten years old, his uncle took over his care. As a young child, Friedrich Froebel spent a lot of time playing alone in the gardens around his home. This led to a love and respect of nature that would remain throughout his adult life. In 1797, Froebel attended school to learn about forestry, geometry, land surveying, and valuation; and by 1802, he was working as a forester. Ever the student, Friedrich attended Frankfurt University to study architecture, and later, began teaching under Johann J. Pestalozzi, a well respected educator of the day. Pestalozzi welcomed the poor into his school, including orphans. He believed that children needed to be active in their own learning. Froebel died on the 21st June 1852.

Work of Friedrich Frobel

It was at Frankfurt, where he was studying architecture that he developed some relationship with the Director of a Model School. This director discovered that true field for Frobel was education. Then Frobel was advised to give up architecture and join the Model School. Froebel found his long-missed life element and was in-expressibly happy with the job of teacher. He worked there for two years. Latter he felt that he should have more training in the teaching profession. Thus, he undertook to coach three boys of one family. He was dissatisfied with his own work so he took his wards to Pestalozzi's school at Yverdun where he remained for four years. His desire for knowledge of natural science carried him in 1811 to Gottimgen University whence he went to Berlin. Two years later, his university studies were interrupted as he joined the Army. Military experience showed him the value of discipline and united action. In 1814, he returned from military and became a keeper of the Museum in Berlin. But he still kept thinking about becoming an educator. In 1816, he opened a small school which became a successful institution in 10 years. He published a book about The Education of Man which was very great work of him.

Froebel opened a school in Switzerland in 1830. The Swiss Government took advantage of his presence and sent their teachers to him for instruction. Soon he moved to Burgdorf to run an orphanage and to superintend the training of teachers for short time courses of three months. In these conferences with the teachers, he learnt that the schools suffered as they did not get good raw material - the educand. This he believed was due to no education in the pre-school age.

In 1837, at the age of 55, Friedrich Froebel founded his own school and called it "kindergarten", or the "children's garden". Kindergarten was a new word created by Froebel to express his vision for early childhood education:

"Children are like tiny flowers; they are varied and need care, but each is beautiful alone and glorious when seen in the community of peers."

His Philosophy in Education

Prior to Froebel's kindergarten, children under the age of seven did not attend school. It was believed that young children did not have the ability to concentrate or to develop cognitive and emotional skills before this age. However, Froebel expressed his own beliefs about the importance of early education by stating that ". . . because learning begins when consciousness erupts, education must also".

Froebel labeled his approach to education as "self-activity". This idea allows the child to be led by his or her own interests and to freely explore them. The teacher's role, therefore, was to be a guide rather than lecturer.

Froebel's kindergarten was designed to meet each child's need for: physical activity, the development of sensory awareness and physical dexterity, creative expression, exploration of ideas and concepts, the pleasure of singing, the experience of living among others, and satisfaction of the soul

Froebel's school featured games, play, songs, stories, and crafts to stimulate imagination and develop physical and motor skills. The materials in the room were divided into two categories:

1. Gifts: were objects that were fixed in form such as blocks. The purpose was that in playing with the object, the child would learn the underlying concept represented by the object.

2. Occupations: allowed more freedom and consisted of things that children could shape and manipulate such as clay, sand, beads, and string. There was an underlying symbolic meaning in all that was done. Even clean up time was seen as a reminder to the child of God's plan for moral and social order.

In 1852, after a short illness, Friedrich Froebel passed away. During his lifetime, he changed the face of education in Germany, and led other educators to follow in his path. Between 1848 and 1852 thirty one kindergartens had been founded in German cities. Unlike other educational institutions, many kindergartens were open to children of all social classes and religious denominations. The teachers encouraged broadmindedness and understanding among these varied segments of the population. Froebel's most important gifts to children were invaluable. He gave children respect for their intellectual and emotional, abilities and development, the classroom, and that which he needed most as a child.

A teacher who took on the role of loving, supportive parents. Friedrich Froebel was truly a pioneer of Early Childhood Education, and a role model that all educators can still learn from today.

III. Conclusion

What is Friedrich Froebel Perspective on Education? And how did Froebel's theory help Education in Cambodia to be better?

In 1837, after years of trying to establish better schools for children, Froebel founded the first Child Nurture and Activity Institute, or Kindergarten. This school was designed for infants, reflecting Froebel's belief that an improvement to infant education was necessary for educational reform. In spite of Prussian government opposition to kindergarten, the idea spread throughout Europe, effecting a lasting change to children's education. Thus, we can see that, Froebel pay particular attention on the children education especially in the preschool education. In contrast, based on the history of Education in Cambodia society, people don't pay any attention to child education. Most children need to help their parents to earn the living and they are always staying at home and go to the rice field. This tradition leads Cambodia to have extremely poor educated people.

Nowadays, many kindergarten schools have been established in Cambodia. People send their children to preschool for education as well as they are busy in their job and have no time to take care of them. We can see that, children who have attended in preschool education learn well and more qualified than those who didn't attend the preschool education.

In short, in order to produce good human resources, Cambodia should adopt Froebel's theory of Education. We should take particular attention on Children because education is the development of habits, attitudes and skills which help a man to lead a full and worthwhile life. Thus, we need to start educating them at the early stage of their life.

IV. References

Ayres, David M. (2005). Anatomy of a Crisis. Education, Development and Education

Taneja, Vidya Ratna V.R.(2010). Educational Thought and Practice

Zimmermann, Thomas Cohort 5. Course Reading. Foundations of Education(MEd103)

http://hubpages.com/hub/Friedrich-Froebel-Founder-of-the-First-Kindergarten

http://www.culturalprofiles.net/cambodia/Directories/Cambodia_Cultural_Profile/-36.html

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