Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Poor education hurts girls

Poor education hurts girls

Poor education hurts girls


Reports says scanty education damages prospects and bleeds the economy

Chef Chon graduated from the Salai Bai School for Hospitality and Restaurant management in Siem Reap. Photo Supplied

FAILURE to keep girls in school past primary education is taking a massive toll on Cambodia’s economy and leaving young women vulnerable to exploitation, a new report warns.

Women deprived of proper schooling are limited to high-risk, unskilled, low-paying jobs that are slowing Cambodia’s emergence from the financial crisis, the report says, adding that they are also more likely to lose their jobs, enter the sex trade and die at a young age.

Released by child-focused development NGO Plan International on Wednesday, the report highlights the plight of several Cambodian girls forced to leave school prematurely. Rarn, a 14-year-old from Dambae district in Kampong Cham province, quit school at about age 9.

“If my parents had money, I would go to study until I finished all the grades,” she said.

“I want to be a tailor. My parents are very poor and cannot afford books, clothing or a bicycle for me. Also, no one can help them with farming and housework.”

Though the number of girls enrolling in primary school is high, that rate drops sharply at secondary schools. According to the Asia Development Bank, roughly 1.3 million girls attended primary school in 2007-2008. About 55,000 girls completed grade nine, and only 22,000 completed high school.

The consequences are serious, warned Thida Kus of NGO Silaka. “You notice how these girls are dropping out just after elementary school, just as they’re beginning puberty,” she said. “This means they suddenly become more vulnerable to sexual exploitation.... Many of them have low-income jobs in the informal sector, where they are more susceptible to trafficking, sexual violence and contracting HIV.”

A 1 percentage point rise in girls attending secondary school can increase a country’s annual per capita income growth by 0.3 percent, the report says.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY KHOUTH SOPHAK CHAKRYA

MOST VIEWED

  • Stock photo agencies cash in on Khmer Rouge tragedy
    Stock-photo companies selling images from S-21 raises ethics concerns

    A woman with short-cropped hair stares directly into the camera, her head cocked slightly to the side. On her lap is a sleeping infant just barely in the frame. The woman was the wife of a Khmer Rouge officer who fell out of favour, and

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the