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STUDENT BLOG: The Khmer Rouge’s Impact on The Education Sector In Cambodia

20 February 2015

By Ratanak 

From 1975-1979 was the Pol Pot regime and at that time Cambodia was the river of blood. Khmer Rouge (Pol Pot soldiers) and many armies took over Cambodia as a dictatorship during the time that sectors were declining, such as: health sector, industry sector, economic sector and especially the education sector. The Khmer rouge whose leader was Mr. Pol Pot destroyed such as:

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-       Human resources: scholars, monk, soldiers, military officials, civil servants, people and children million were killed.

-       Structure: schools, hospitals, mosques, Christian churches, shops, market, government buildings and pagodas. And these structures became prisons, rice stores, stables, torture places, killing places, camps and storerooms for weapons or explosives of armies. They also seized people properties. The Khmer rouge eliminated currency, education, civilised clothing, religion beliefs, and Khmer traditions…everything was controlled by Mr. Pol Pot, including life. Cambodia became a rural, classless society in which there were no rich people (people became livelihood equal).

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This photo took from website: www.pri.org/stories

-       People have hunger, lack the drugs and have no health services. People in Phnom Pench and other cities were force into the countryside to undertake agricultural work. During this evacuation of the cities of people died. But agriculture at the time of the Khmer rouge had strong progress. The people lived without security, there was hijacking, killing and threats from the armies. The only education was taught by people with no knowledge.

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This photo took from website: www.kambodja.name

-       The people were forced to work over 12 hours a day in farms, no time to break and there was not enough to eats. They used children to work by excessive force (they used the people and children to go cut one type tree that is in the wild or near the road and mix fertiliser for to put in the rice field and other work such as digging the land and ditch.

-       Currently, in Cambodia everything is getting better than before and there will be no instability like before. All students get more education, because the government developed such as: building high schools, primary schools, pagoda, training teacher and other supports, but it’s not enough. In some rural schools and some urban schools (especially at primary school level), student in the suburbs, it has very shortage. Student must rely capacity and have to pay for personal study. I have seen personally the bad situation in schools and some students have the lack of a uniform, food and materials for learning.

-       Thereby they are very lacking, as well as the sight of the other need of the other schools and children have difficulty, so Non Government Organisation and humanitarian assistance from abroad comes to help and support the needs of these school and students with aid.

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All these supplies was support by Ponheary Ly Foundation at Watbo School.

-       These aids are like: teaching supplies materials learning providing a bicycle for a student to ride when they go to study at high school, supporting poor primary and high schools, with education, they also supply some classes like computer, science and English. Computer and other materials for teachers to teach the students, built the schools and toilet and give some money for repairing the school and they also provide scholarships to students who livelihoods poor. And now, 7.76 children go to school and literate in Cambodia. I think the volunteers who help children when needed is a good thing because it makes satisfaction and have confidence in learning and efforts to learn.

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All these bikes was support by Ponheary Ly Foundation

-       But some students don’t study too. Because their parents force their child to work to have more money to give to them. Some parents are busy about farming to make a new livelihood and never think about children’s education, this makes children lose their opportunity to go to school and not have knowledge for the future like other people…

-       In the future, I hope that Cambodia is a country that like other countries in the world have glory on international stage for a successful education sector. And I have expectations that Cambodia will have many scholars to help its socials development.

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  • Clive

    That was a very informative blog post, Ratanak, and well-written too. You are clearly a very talented student! I wonder if you can think of ways to encourage the child labourers back in to school? How could you persuade their parents?
    Best wishes from Clive in the UK.

  • Glenys Tangey

    Thankyou Ratanak, I enjoyed reading your article, it was very informative.
    from Glenys in Australia

  • Alison

    Nice writing Ratanak. Keep it up!

  • Doug Griswold

    That’s a great post Ratanak. Very well researched and written. Lot’s of challenges facing the Cambodian people. I hope you and your classmates continue to challenge the status quo to improve your country.