While Unesco’s Global Education Monitoring Report 2017/8 says 264 million young people worldwide are not attending school, according to the 2017-2018 national statistics 3,143,252 Cambodians were enrolled.
Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport spokesman Ros Soveacha said that in 2017-2018, the secondary level dropout rate was 16.6 per cent (14.2 per cent for female students), the high school level dropout rate was 19.7 per cent (17 per cent for female students), while the primary school level rate was 4.7 per cent (3.5 per cent for girls).
Soveacha said Cambodians have the right to receive quality and free education at public schools for at least nine years. Therefore, the ministry has been improving its policies step by step with government mandates to ensure ready access to high-standard education in accordance with the Articles of the Law on Education.
“The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport is establishing a five-year education strategy, from 2019-2023, in order to guarantee equal access to education."
“Specifically, the ministry has two main principles. The first principle is the ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. [the second] is to ensuring effective leadership and management of education staff at all levels."
“In the short term, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport jointly leads the national policy, lifelong education for all, [regarding] which we expect to receive government recommendations soon,” he said.
Soveacha said the ministry also devised a teaching policy, enacting major reforms of learning management, administrative management, financial management and human resources management over the next five years.
“Therefore the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport will strengthen and develop education by focusing on the quality and talents of students and teachers who put so much effort into the education sector,” he said.
Soveacha said the dropout rate is not only a domestic and regional priority but also an international one in both developed and developing nations.
“Besides the above measures, in the sixth mandate, Samdech Techo Prime Minister [Hun Sen] issued the fourth-phase of the rectangular strategy, regarding human resources development as a priority."
“Responding to this, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport is determined to improve education, science and technology by making teachers our first priority, expanding schools at all levels and strengthening comprehensive inspection of school management et cetera,” he said.
Former Director-General of Unesco Irina Bokova wrote in the foreword of the Global Education Monitoring Report 2017/8 – Accountability in education: Meeting our commitments: “There are today 264 million children and youth not going to school.
“This is a failure that we must tackle together because education is a shared responsibility and progress can only be sustainable through common efforts.”