Significantly fewer upper secondary students dropped out of school in 2016 compared to the previous year, but Cambodian education authorities say they still want to halve the rate to improve graduation rates and students’ chances of success in life.
Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron reported a fall in the upper secondary – grades 10 through 12 – dropout rate in 2016 to 19.4 percent, from 23.8 percent in 2015, according to the ministry’s annual report. “In upper-secondary [school], some students do not want to finish grade 12 as they see job opportunities available,” he told reporters yesterday during the ministry’s annual meeting.
“There are positives and negatives. The negative is that they could not finish grade 12, while the positive is that they can get a job as many factories have been opening.”
The ministry aims to halve the rate of dropouts to promote higher education or vocational training to help students gain better jobs and incomes.
Many Southeast Asian countries have large percentages of children failing to finish school. UNICEF representative in Cambodia Debora Comini said the government and development partners recognise the challenge of dropouts in upper secondary school, and have been working to address it through interventions such as reviewing technical and life skills curricula.