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379 Chapter 18 Education Human resource development is both an outcome and a driver of the economic and social development of a country. Skills acquired by the people, their values and attitudes, are necessary to increase productivity. This by itself may not be enough since “work productivity is subject to the health and nutrition of the work force. People need the necessary physical and mental endurance, first to learn economically useful techniques, then to apply them to the workplace.” As a country develops it is able to devote an increasing part of its resources to human development. The development challenge is to establish this virtuous cycle. 18.1. Background The foremost task in development is providing primary education for all. The investment in primary education can have important benefits, including high rates of productivity and laying the foundation for higher education which is necessary for innovation and growth. A better educated population is also more sensitive to the evolution of civil society and unlikely to tolerate violent conflicts. Three obstacles should be overcome in the provision of education: limited education opportunities, unequal chances of access to these opportunities, and the poor quality of teaching. Education is the primary tool to break the vicious circle of poverty that entraps rural population. Cambodia’s educational system was totally reconstructed in 1979, with the establishment of the Ministry of National Education. The first primary school was re-opened in Phnom Penh in September 1979, followed by the reopening of the Sisowath High School. In the area of high education, the Faculty of Medicine was the first to be reopened to respond to the challenges of health issues following the Khmer Rouge period. In 1981, the Institute of Technology, staffed with Soviet teachers and professors, was re-opened to respond to the need for Cambodia’s reconstruction. However, by the late 1990’s the sector was faced with national education service that lacked coherence. The services delivered were not always sufficiently equitable and did not always provide full national coverage (Quinn, 2009a, p. 3). Reproduced from Cambodian Economy: Charting the Course of a Brighter Future. A Survey of Progress, Problems and Prospects by Hang Chuon Naron (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2012). This version was obtained electronically direct from the publisher on condition that copyright is not infringed. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the prior permission of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Individual articles are available at 380 Cambodia’s education reform began in 1999. The first steps comprised formulation of an education policy and a strategic framework that established the overarching priorities of the sector, goals for the subsectors, and a framework for allocating expenditures over the medium term. The Education Strategic Plan (ESP) prepared in 2001 was reviewed periodically to fine tune the programs so that they complied with the strategic priorities. Following an evaluation of the ESP, a more detailed education system support program (ESSP) was prepared, with a view to implementing a joint action plan between the stakeholders, mainly the RGC, donors, and NGOs. This education reform focused on primary and secondary education. The key issues driving this reform were (Quinn, 2009a, p. 4, ESP 2001-2005): • To reestablish the role of the state for the provision of equitable public services in education; • To strengthen the accountability structures of the education sector to the public, to whom the Ministry was ultimately accountable under the new and emerging democratic principles of nation; • To expand and universalize free and equitable services at primary and basic level in accordance with national commitments; • To establish mechanisms that assured resources were available for the provision of education services at the point of service delivery; • To harness and re-direct both internal and external financial and human resources allocations in a coherent and planned fashion, and in accordance with key national propoor and economic development priorities; • To establish internal accountability and performance assessment mechanisms to strengthen managerial processes, system effectiveness and performance management; • To reform its internal managerial and institutional structures and mandates to create an enabling environment for the envisaged and emerging reform agenda. In response to this reform, the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) introduced in 2000 the Priority Action Program (PAP) in order to shift spending priority from militarysecurity to social and economic sectors such as Ministry of Education Youth and Sports, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fishery. The PAP budget procedures are based on the following: 381 • Budget...


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