Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Region in ‘learning crises’

Region in ‘learning crises’

A teacher guides students through an exercise in at Phnom Penh’s Wat Koh High School in 2014. A World Bank report released on Thursday says that a 60 percent of the region’s students are in educations systems with ‘learning crises’. Photo supplied
A teacher guides students through an exercise in at Phnom Penh’s Wat Koh High School in 2014. A World Bank report released on Thursday says that a 60 percent of the region’s students are in educations systems with ‘learning crises’. Photo supplied

Region in ‘learning crises’

A whopping 60 percent of students in the region, including those in Cambodia, are enrolled in education systems that are grappling with “learning crises” and are failing to provide them with the skills they need to succeed, according to a new report released by the World Bank on Thursday.

That percentage represents a total of 97.9 million students – some 3.5 million in the Kingdom – according to the report.

The report says the other 40 percent, or 63.8 million of the East Asia and the Pacific region’s students, are enrolled in top-performing or above-average systems, in countries like China and Vietnam.

“Yet up to 60 percent of students in East Asia and Pacific are in poorly performing school systems where performance in key subjects is either low or unknown,” the report reads. “Students in rural Cambodia, Indonesia, or the Lao People’s Democratic Republic may perform farm duties before having to undertake a long walk to an ill-equipped rural school and sit in a classroom staffed by an underprepared teacher.”

Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron couldn’t be reached for comment, and ministry spokesman Ros Salin didn’t respond to a request for comment.

In Cambodia and East Timor, more than 30 percent of all grade-2 students cannot read a single word, the study found, although in the case of the Kingdom, researchers used data from 2012 for this particular finding.

Amer Hasan, one of the report’s co-authors, said he was unable to provide the current rate.

Sam Oeun Chin, education officer at Action Aid, said only 50 percent of primary school students passed a 2017 national assessment of reading and writing conducted by the Ministry of Education.

Oeun Chin, meanwhile, wasn’t taken aback by the finding that Cambodia’s education system was failing to provide students with adequate skills. For example, he said, the Education Ministry in 2006 approved a policy to provide life skills at the primary level, but there are still limitations.

“I think something has to improve so [schools] can provide skills for [students] to succeed in real life,” he said.

“There are some gaps in the implementation of policy.” He added the Education Ministry is in the process of updating outmoded policies.

San Chey, executive director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said he disagreed that the education system in Cambodia is at a point where it’s facing a crisis, although he allowed that “primary education is a concern”, along with education equity.

“I do not agree with all of this report, but I observe that the knowledge [and] learning outcomes between students in downtown and rural areas are different due to various reasons of family factors, learning opportunities and teaching quality,” he said.

Many of the low-performing education systems, such as the ones in Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines, have implemented teacher reforms with “varying degrees of success”, the report says.

“Comprehensive reform requires a sober assessment of capacity and constraints, area of high impact with ‘leapfrog’ potential and the steps to be performed,” the report reads.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Is Cambodia’s travel sector in for another cheerless holiday season?

    The travel and tourism sector was heaving back to life as borders started to reopen, promising a festive vibe for the holidays and New Year. But Omicron and other Covid-related issues are threatening to close the year on a bleak note ‘Seems [like] Covid-19 won’

  • Hun Sen: Manet to be candidate for prime minister

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has reaffirmed that his oldest son Hun Manet will be his successor as Prime Minister if he is elected. Speaking during the inauguration of a new sewage treatment facility in Preah Sihanouk province on December 2, Hun Sen said Manet will be