Here’s another sad statistic that reflects on the underinvestment in education for young Cambodians. For every hundred who start primary school, 39 do not complete their studies at primary school according to the latest available figures. “Oh but we’re a poor country,” might be the argument of the government – but poorer than Myanmar or Laos? The fact is, Cambodia spends a smaller percentage of the annual government expenditure on education than does its neighboring nations.
The result: 4 in ten do not make it to middle or high school.
- Insufficient provision of primary schools especially in remote regions.
- Distance and transport. Many children live too far away from school and do not have transport.
- Financial – the fact that state schools charge money to attend. This is extremely widespread, and penalises the poor.
- Children required to work on farms to help the family income.
- Sickness. Child health is still far from ideal in Cambodia.
During the 2013 election the Government announced a 20% lift in education budget (a move I’d rate as a shift from totally inadequate to merely inadequate,) but the Government has not released any plans or policies to indicate where the additional money will be spent.
The annual education spend works out to around $50 per child in Cambodia up to age 18.
For more education statistics click here.