The school in Cambodia

Our experience

It is 2:30 pm - it's so hot - it is in a corner pretty declined in Cambodia (between Siem Reap and the border with Laos) where there is neither mains nor running water; there for a long time wanted to visit a school without knowing how to do, and it passes at this time there a small school.

There are only two buildings, 6 classrooms in all that one that looks more like a barn than a classroom. Three cows are in the courtyard of recreation/field situated between the school and the road. Three profs are outside the classrooms, discussing while children do their exercises.

It starts to meet them. They are very young and speak little English, are all smiles but a little embarrassed to not be able to answer our questions. I digress Group (children are out with us) to take some shots of the place and classrooms full of studious students. As soon as I pass the door of a class, students get up and say "Soursdey!" ("Hello!") and to MNAs illico. I get to take a video of this moment in the last class where 11-year-old students have some Foundation in English. I talk a little bit with the class about filming (I apologize in advance for the average stability of this scene on-screen :)).

Skips to the final half an hour with them, and then we take our road.


Levels of education

The law that says?

The Cambodian school system is close to the french model, the fact of the long French presence in the country (1863-1953).

The Constitution of Cambodia Announces equal access to education and the free primary and secondary education for all, and compulsory education up to 14 years. Kindergarten, it is not mandatory, and few children go there (only 15%).

Since 1996, the school is divided into six years of primary education (level 1 to 6, with schooling at the age of six years (6 to 11 years)), followed by three years in college (years 7, 8 and 9 (ages 12 to 14)) and finally three years in high school.

In practice

-In 2009, nearly 93% of children aged 6 to 11 years old were enrolled in primary school (compared with 81% in 2005). Progress was especially visible in rural areas and among girls. But difficulties persist: about 10% of children enter primary school are older after 6 years and have therefore already the delay; the repetitions are frequent; 66% of children actually spend at the college.

-Cost to families : Public school is free... in theory. There's just the same tuition (to participate in the school operating expenses, to pay the uniform, school supplies, etc.). And unfortunately, teachers often ask extra money, in order to supplement their incomes. This is illegal, this practice has been condemned by the Government.

-There are also schools in the temples, held by the (less Buddhist) monks. This allows the poor to go to school for free, in Exchange for help in the monastery. It has stayed a night a temple school, where there were so young monks, young had to be between the ages of 10 or 12.

The time of learning

The pace of the day

Classes are held either the morning or afternoon. It is often like that because there are not enough qualified teachers or schools.

The students have so class either from 7 h to 11 H; be from 1 P.m. to 5 p.m..


6:55 - 7:10: national anthem - and class; 8:30: cool stuff; 8:45 class; 10:05 recess; 10:20: class; 11:00: school

The other part of the day where they are not in school, they work often with their parents (in the fields, in their restaurant, in their small shop...) and help with the chores of the House.

To go to school, they come to foot, in bike. In the countryside, they do sometimes 10 kms bike to come to school.

The week

The children go to the school of Monday to Friday. Primary, each course lasts 40 minutes (27 to 30 sequences per week in all).

The school year includes 38 weeks of courses, by the end of September at the beginning of the month of July.


The major holidays last so 3 months (from early July to late September)! But be not jealous too fast... From July to September, this is the monsoon season, there is so much work in the fields for crops: leave them this great holiday period so that it can work with their parents in the fields. This avoids most of the children, especially in rural areas, drop out of school during the monsoon season.

Two other holiday periods in the year: in November for the feast of the waters; and in April for the khmer new year.

The school newspaper


Children often have little personal equipment: one or two pens, one or two specifications, rule, Eraser. They rank all in a plastic bag. Sometimes they have a small Binder, but not all.

They have little textbook. Sometimes not there not enough for each and they have to share several (sometimes a manual for 5 students).

The uniform

The wearing of uniform is mandatory. It consists of a white blouse and a blue skirt Navy for girls, a white shirt and blue pants for boys. It is the same that was seen throughout the country. These are families who must buy it.

The canteen

Schools have no canteens. In general, they go eat at home. Sometimes there are small vendors of food in front of schools so they can eat before returning home.


The subjects taught at primary school are: khmer (the language of the country, our equivalent of french courses), mathematics, national identity (history, geography), moral and civic responsibilities, knowledge daily to participate in the life of the local and national community sciences, and a foreign language (usually English)

The institueurs

The teachers have the status of officials. At the elementary level, teachers must have the Bachelor's degree; but in practice, many do not have this level currently.

The salary is $ 60 (or 53 euros) per month for primary school teachers; suddenly, they often have second jobs to feed their families.


Not easy to find a school where people speak quite good English to put all our questions. Suddenly, I found quite a lot of info and more on the Internet.


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