A Southeast Asian nation that has had to completely rebuild its society and education systems in recent decades. Plus Education is honoured to have served rural communities here since 2018.
In Cambodia, like elsewhere in the developing world, rural communities are characterised by higher rates of poverty and lower levels of development relative to urban areas. These inequalities are mirrored in the school system.
Rural schools often operate in makeshift buildings with poor to non-existent electricity and Internet connectivity, under-qualified teaching staff, and few resources. These schools struggle to attract qualified English teachers, so the standard of in-school English education is very low. Teachers also often lack basic digital skills and competencies, while schools lack the funds to provide digital learning resources.
At the same time, most children are unable to access alternative solutions, including costly commercial language schools, after-school tuition and online English lessons. This contributes to a huge divide in educational outcomes between rural and urban students and, in turn, their post-school outcomes.
Most rural children will have have left school without even the most basic English language or digital skills. Yet, it is these skills that are increasingly required or, at the very least, advantageous in gaining the kind of secure work (and the level of income) that will allow them to achieve upward social mobility.
Instead, their best hope is to find casual or seasonal work on the poorly paid, under-regulated fringes of the farming, manufacturing and informal economies— the kind of work that confines them and their families to a life of interminable poverty.
That’s why we believe it is important to make English literacy skills education and digital learning more accessible for children in marginal communities. Not only does this open doors to economic opportunities and change, but in a world transformed by digital technologies and dominated in many ways by the English language, it allows children in non-English speaking countries across the developing world to be better informed and have greater control over their lives and future.
1 in 4
LOW INTERNET CONNECTIVITY
Despite recent progress in improving internet connectivity across Cambodia, one in four rural households remain disconnected (GSMA 2020). Even for those who who do have internet access, connections are often unstable and slow.
LOW HOUSEHOLD INCOMES
The average household income in Cambodia is US$1,549 per annum or around US$4 a day (CEIC 2019). Given the significant gap in rural-urban wages, the average household income is rural areas is much less than this.
HIGH CHILD LABOUR PARTICIPATION
Up to 59% of rural school students in Cambodia are engaged in paid employment outside school hours to contribute to household incomes (KAPE 2014). Many more are engaged in unpaid domestic or agricultural labour.
INCREASE IN EARNING POTENTIAL
English language competency roughly doubles the earning potential of Cambodian employees, regardless of educational attainment. That’s the difference between a life of poverty and a stable economic future.
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About Plus Education
Plus Education is the group operating name of registered Australian charity, The 40K Foundation Australia Ltd, and its subsidiary organisations, 40K Plus Education in India and Cambodia.
We are committed to child safety and creating a safe learning environment for children.
This month, Plus Education officially turns 10! To commemorate the milestone and the start of our registered organisational status ten years ago in India, our CEO Swetha Prakash has penned a few words reflecting on our journey and achievements over the years.