School situation in Cambodia
The school situation in Cambodia is not good.
There is a whole generation in Cambodia that didn’t go to school, and a lot of people are analphabets, they can not read or write. But what is the reason to this? Why haven’t people gone to school?
In the 1960s Cambodia was the country with some of the best education level in Asia, and all the children went to school, both primary and secondary school. And many also went to high school after secondary school. But in 1975 Red Khmer came to the power. They wanted Cambodia to be the biggest rice producer in the world. They forced the people in Phnom Penh and other cities to leave their homes and walk out to the countryside to work as farmers. They left the cities in ruins, and killed all the people with high education, teachers, engineers, state employees, etc. They emptied the schools or used them as prison and they destroyed all the schoolbooks. And they killed everyone they suspected for being against their rule. Pol Pot was the leader of the Red Khmer organization. Red Khmer ruled Cambodia until Vietnam invaded Phnom Penh in 1979. When Red Khmer’s rule was over, there was only 300 teachers left in Cambodia, and almost 1.7 million people had died because of the brutal rule of Red Khmer.
And today almost 40 years later, there is still not enough schools or teachers in Cambodia. It takes a long time to build up an education system with school buildings, educated teachers and school books. In Cambodia they had to start from scratch in 1979.
Soknai, a tuktuk driver in Siem Reap told us that he was born in 1975 and couldn’t go to school as a child. When he grew up he had hard work and he went to evening class in the evening. He had been working as a guide a while, but started working as a tuktuk driver, because then he got better paid. His highest wish is that his six year old son will get an education and get them out of poverty.
Lots of children sell postcards, cakes, fruit and souvenirs to tourists, and can’t go to school. Most Cambodians have low income jobs, as tuktuk drivers or working in a cafe or sell food, souvenirs, and other things for tourists. Some people are even beggars.
You Kinh House in Phnom Penh, where we stayed for three days, is a guesthouse that runs a school for children for both poor and rich families. It is a private school and income from the guesthouse is used to support poor families. There is also a kindergarten. Seametrey children’s village offers a full education and day care to children aged 1-6 years. Since September 2007, Seametrey children’s village has expanded to include a Khmer-English primary section. The school wants to give Khmer children a good education. Today, Seametrey has 91 children from 8 months to 23 years old, and more than half come from poor families. The students come from different backgrounds and parents pay what they can afford. All over Cambodia there is private schools run by private people and organizations that wish to help.
Det er mange hjelpeorganisasjoner som driver skoler i Kambodsja, mange også på privat initiativ. Mens vi var i Phnom Penh fikk vi invitasjon via en kjenning i Canada til å være med på utdeling av ordbøker til en skole på landsbygda, hvor det var samlet inn penger til bøkene i Canada. Dessverre skulle vi videre dagen etter, og fikk det ikke til å klaffe slik at vi kunne være med på utdelingen. Er lei for det! Og må si at vi skulle ønske vi kunne gjøre noe for å hjelpe til for at flere barn skal få gå på skole. På Seametrey Children’s village er det mulig å støtte skolen økonomisk, og de er også i gang med innsamling av midler til å bygge en ny skole på landsbygda. Se mer på http://www.seametreycambodia.org