Education Ministry trying to hit 'ambitious targets' by 2030

 Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron speaks on Monday at the beginning of the ministry's annual three-day congress at the Institute of Technology of Cambodia.
Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron speaks on Monday at the beginning of the ministry's annual three-day congress at the Institute of Technology of Cambodia. Heng Chivoan

Cambodia has reached near universal access to primary education, though the rate of students graduating from upper secondary school and those enrolled in higher education is still lagging, Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron said on Monday during his ministry’s annual meeting.

Of the students who enter primary education, only half complete Grade 9. But of those who continue their schooling, 70 percent eventually graduate from Grade 12. Fewer than 20 percent of the country’s population has attained a higher education degree, Chuon Naron said.

“For that reason, we have set very ambitious targets,” he said.

The education system in Cambodia has long struggled with an inadequate number of teachers and the caliber of existing ones, among other issues, such as a lack of facilities and outdated curriculums.

In 2017, the ministry adopted a roadmap to integrate the UN's sustainable development goals into its education strategic plan. Targets under that plan, for example, include increasing the percentage of 5-year-olds attending preschool from 70 percent in 2018 to nearly 100 percent by 2030.

Another target is to ensure every child gets a primary school education by 2030, up from 84 percent in 2018. The ministry intends to increase the lower-secondary school completion rate to 61 percent, up from 44 percent in 2018.

The education system in Cambodia has long struggled with an inadequate number of teachers and the caliber of existing ones falling short, among other issues, such as a lack of enough facilities and outdated curriculums.