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Better educated children and youth will provide Cambodia with the foundation for a skilled workforce that can be competitive in the global marketplace, as well as a democratic and stable society. Today, Cambodia’s education indicators are among the lowest in Asia. While the primary school net enrollment rate is an impressive 96 percent, the rate for lower secondary is 34 percent and for upper secondary is only 21 percent. Due to high rates of poverty in the rural areas, poor quality of education, and insufficient number of classrooms and teachers, school dropout rates in Cambodia remain high at the primary school (8.7 percent) and lower secondary school (19.6 percent) levels. Cambodia’s education system continues to be affected by a weak public sector service delivery system, minimal teacher capacity, lack of school facilities, and inadequate enrollment levels.

USAID supports improved quality, access, and relevance of basic education for Cambodia’s youth. To achieve its goal, USAID is supporting scholarships for vulnerable youth; school improvement grants; development and testing of relevant lower secondary life skills curriculum; teacher training; school management training; and building capacity of local civil society, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and different government entities. USAID’s program works closely with all levels of government from the grassroots level to the national level through the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport. By working with all levels of the Cambodian government, we aim to reinforce the program’s sustainability by transferring the responsibility and ownership of the project interventions to the host government at the end of the project. In addition, USAID is strengthening selected local NGOs to independently deliver quality education services. In USAID-targeted areas, enrollment rates have increased by 13 percent in primary schools and 9 percent in secondary schools. Two-thirds of targeted schools report reduced dropout rates, and 71 percent report a reduction in students repeating grades.

Last updated: August 24, 2016

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