Education is the most important part for developing the country so all people both boys and girls needs to have education equally to receive skills, knowledge, and good attitude. However, there have been large amount progresses in accomplishing girls’ full and equal access to education since the early years of 2000, until now it has not realized. Particularly, girls from poor families in rural and remote areas seem to confront various disadvantages in education, shown in lower female enrolment rates at secondary levels and higher drop-out rates among girls. Research provides many explanations regarding the disadvantages these girls face.
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According to research article about ‘Why are Girl not at School? Perception, Realities and contradictions in changing in Cambodia’ provided the influent factors which have caused girls stay out school. The causes are ancient culture and tradition [daughters should be around the kitchen and girls are not as intelligent as boys], not understanding the value of education from parents, distance school, poor parents, responsibilities for much housework, earning income for family, insecurity in school, not having good interaction between teachers and female students, not having enough school facilities for girls, unqualified teachers in school, sexual harassment, having low self image of girls, bad environment in school, and late enrolment to start school (Velasco, 2001).
In addition, the research article about Universal Primary Education: Reaching the unreached in Cambodia depicted some factors which affected girls out of school such as public expenditure on formal primary school, pupil-teacher ratio, school infrastructure, poverty, geography and ethnicity Badloe et al. (2007).
Depending on the various disadvantages, lower female enrolment rates at secondary level and higher drop-out rate among girls, in education for girls from poor families in rural and remote areas, there have been many influent reasons which have affected girls education in Cambodia so we raise two questions to find out the problems which cause: what are these demand side and supply side factors which may cause to disadvantages of girls in education and what does the Cambodian government do to reduce the influence of these factors?
Situation in Terms of Dropout in Basic Education
As we have known that Cambodia is country which was torn by civil war about three years and was destroyed nearly all luxurious national properties such as tradition, custom, culture, religion, and important human resources which is the most significant source in developing the country make this country in serious troubles educationally, economically and socially (Filmer & Schady, 2006). The reason above makes the country need to cope with it in difficulties and reform a lot of times in many fields such as economy, agriculture, industry and especially education to offer the people’s need and develop the whole country after the war.
Basic education is the vital part for children to develop their understanding about the world. Basic education is the education of children both boys and girls that start from grade 1 to grade 9 which is the stage that offers children to be able to read and write better and also understand more about social activities and get some skills and good attitude to live in society. This stage of basic education is demanded by the government and ministry of education for children. This means that children must be given education at least grade 9. Further more, to offer more opportunity of education through basic education for children who leave the school without finishing primary school (grade1 to 6) and lower secondary school [grade 7 to 9], the government and ministry of education have prepared the Reentry and Education For All (EFA) Program for them to improve the living standard and develop the whole country as well.
However, in basic education, student dropout has been more opposing to change even with the introduction of educational reforms in the current decade. This is importantly true for both boys and girls living in remote areas where rates have vitally increased. Generally, girls seem to have higher drop out levels than boys at all educational levels, showing a reverse pattern to that shown for student repetition. Nationally, dropout levels were reported to be 8.3% for boys and 13.9% for girls in 1993 rising slightly to 10.4% for boys and declining slightly to 13.0% among girls in 2001. However, dropout levels at both lower and upper secondary level have depicted important falling down from 1997-2001 (Bredenberg, 2003). Furthermore, according to research finding on ‘why are girls not in school?.’ shown there were many reasons that girls do not stay in school consisting of earning profit for their family, relative care, housework, work in the farm, perception of girls’ parents[parents do not understand the value of education], the old tradition and custom and rigid ideas of gender role in the household of division labor[ It means that the girls should be around the kitchen and the girls are not clever like the boys], distance of school from home, security risk on girl and early marriage (Velasco, 2001). In addition to this problem, we can see that in the article research about “Getting girls into school: Evidence from a scholarship program in Cambodia” depicted that families in poverty line and living in remote and rural areas are pressure which forces the girls do not attend the school (Filmer &Schady, 2006).
In short, because of the situations above, we see that the girls in Cambodia meet the difficulties in continuing their study to develop themselves and families as well as country. As can be seen that issues, what does the government do to reduce the problems on girls in education?
Demand Side and Supply Side Factors Which May Cause in Disadvantage of Girls in Education
According to article research on Education from a Gender Equality Perspective depicted that education is globally acknowledged to benefit individuals and promote national development. Educating females and males produces similar increases in their subsequent earnings and expands future opportunities and choices for both boys and girls. However, educating girls produces many additional socio-economic gains that benefit whole societies. These benefits consist of increased economic productivity, higher family incomes, delayed marriages, reduced fertility rates, and improved health and survival rates for infants and children (USAID, 2008). Really, education for girl provides many benefits for developing the countries such as cut down the poverty line, enhancing the women to actively join in social action, and also understanding the value of education to share with their children and other girls who can not read and write in order abolish illiteracy.
In contrast, in Cambodian context we know that government and many local and international non-organizations have been trying to help girls going to school to be educated in order to promote them, but there seem to be high drop-out of girls in school, necessarily the girls from poor family in rural and remote zones (Velasco, 2001).
Based on the research article on “Why are Girls Not in School?” demonstrated that the two factors, supply side and demand side, cause high drop-out rate of girls in school, most of the responses paid attention to the following interconnected problems in four provinces in Cambodia such as Banteay Meanehey, Siem Reap, Kompong Thom, and Kompong Cham,(Velasco, 2001). Rather, we can see that both demand side and supply side factors have forced children both boys and girls dropout and repetition in high rates. The factors consist of geographical location, poverty line of people in rural and remote areas which pushes children within heavy labor, school infrastructure, pupil-teacher ratio, and public expenditure on primary school Badloe et al. (2007).
Demand Side Factor
First, girls are responsible for housework so it is difficult to join the regular school. Second, parents do not value education for their daughters and they always thought that girls will become a mothers and housewives and will not need much education. On the other hand, education will be much more involved with boys because the boys will be heads of families. In addition, parents reckon that even if the girls obtain high education, it is not guarantee to receive good job and have opportunity to stand in high and vital positions. Third, culture and tradition/ early marriage: parents would stop their daughters from school for marriage and also Cambodian people has adhered firm culture and tradition which do not allow girls to travel away from home because they are afraid of getting bad reputation. Further more, people from cultural minorities do not see the value of education for girls (Siem Reap, Kompong Thom & Banteah Meanchey). Fourth, families are too poor to send all children to school, therefore; daughters should discontinue entering school because they can assist in housework and in earning incomes. The best choice is the boys can attend school because they can not do a lot of work like the girls. Seventh, girls start school at a late age compared to boys so they feel embarrassed and then stop study (Velasco, 2001).
Furthermore, similarly to article research on universal primary education: reaching the unreached in Cambodia provided that poverty led children into poor performance in primary education including childlabour, costs of child schooling, and late entry to school. Therefore, poverty is the most important case which causes many children, especially girls; drop out school Badloe et al. (2007). Fifth, girls would leave school to help parents earn income. Sometimes, parents would ask their daughters to drop out school to work and earn an income such as employing in garment factories in Phnom Penh, doing business by selling souvenirs to tourists in Angkor temples or to hire out their labor in construction work and sometimes because of poverty, parents would force traffic their daughters to the sex trade (Velasco, 2001).
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Supply Side Factor
First, school is inaccessible: poor roads, no transport and too far away from the village Junior high schools are too far way from the village. There is no house for girls and no bicycle for traveling; furthermore, there are only primary schools in the village, but there is no secondary school in community (In Siem Riep & Banteay Meanchey). Second, security risks is also obstacle for sending girls to school, for example kidnapping and rape which occurred causes parents worried of sending their daughters to faraway school and also spoiled boys frighten the safety of girls’ traveling to and from school (In Kompong Cham, Siem Reap, and Banteay Meanchey). Third, the school environment is not girl-friendly; lack of good teachers and school facilities like there is inadequate water and toilet facilities importantly for girls, classrooms are overcrowded, teachers pay more attention to boys than girls, some teachers are not qualified, parents do not value of investing for their daughter’s learning, and also feel no secure for letting daughter going to school (Velasco, 2001).
Furthermore, because of lack of school infrastructures like incomplete school which there are not enough classrooms and teachers for students show clearly that the incomplete school is the most important part in high level of dropout and repetition rate in primary school Badloe et al. (2007).
In short, there really are many causes which push girls staying out of school such as girls burden a lot of housework, school is inaccessible, it is security risks, parents do not value girls’ education, culture and tradition are restricted on girls, families are too poor, girls are late at schooling, and school environment is not girl-friendly; lack of good teachers and school facilities, and girls can help their parents to earn incomes.
Strategies for Cambodian Government to Reduce the Influences of Girls Drop-out
According to research article of on What Policies will Reduce Gender Gap in Developing Countries: Evidence and Interpretation depicted “The positive effects of education on economic growth and individual incomes and welfare are widely, even universally, recognized. It also widely recognized that there are particular benefits ton investing in female schooling, due to externalities such as improved child nutrition and schooling and reduced fertility. These economic efficiency arguments add to the strong equity rationale for increasing female education in areas where girls have traditionally been disadvantaged. Achieving gender equality in education is included among the Millennium Development Goals and many developing country governments now officially recognize this goal as a priority” (Glick, 2008, p.1).
Really, we see that there are many causes both in supply side and demand side to push girls from poor families in rural and remote areas leave the school highly which contribute to a lot of negative points to our country for developing. Therefore, to finish these bad factors, especially on girls, the Cambodian government must take some kinds of actions to reduce those influences on girls.
Based on the research article about ‘Why Girl are not in School?’ provided some strategies to cut down the influences on girls from high rate dropout that the government should do such as leading the campaign to explain the girls and parents of daughters in rural and remote areas to understand the importance and value of education, pushing school principle and commune chief work cooperatively in active role to motivate parents whose daughters are out of school to offer the opportunities to their daughters stay in school, giving some assistance to girls and their families which make them easy in studying such transportation and safety, building enough school with enough classroom and chairs, tables and toilets in each community and area, providing adequate qualified teachers and creating good mood in school for girls (Velasco, 2001).
In addition, according to article research on Why Girls Are not in School depicted “the government must promote the equal vital attention of gender equity principles with poverty and geographic issues in improving access and equity in education, need to reform and enhance Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) logical and technical support to realize the gender awareness of officials and staffs and also improve gender capacity in program and project, implement affirmative measures to significantly reduce gender and social disparities in the education system. It should be adopt a sector wide approach that addresses issues in improving indicators in girls’ education and women’s representation in the education management and delivery services at all levels. This should involve the participation of NGOs with substantive experiences and knowledge on gender and education in the context of Cambodia, give importance to gender issues and concepts in initiatives to improve school facilities, curriculum content, and quality of teaching in basic education. Teacher training on gender awareness and concepts should be integrated in project design” (Velasco, 2001, p.25).
Moreover, according to article research on getting girls into school illustrated that many girls are out of school because of their poverty and also living in rural and remote areas. This is the worst influence on girls’ education which causes girls drop school easily so the government needs to prepare the program in order to keep the girls in school. The government gives the girls in poverty more scholarships for study to reduce high rate of girls drop-out (Filmer & Schady, 2006). Further more, the government needs to prepare suitable labor markets for the girls and abolish discrimination in workplace due to their education (Glick, 2008).
To sum up, education is a crucial thing in developing human being, especially whole country. However, it has been seen that education in Cambodia is not better yet because of many factors both supply side and demand side which is in bad condition such as poverty, inadequate school facility, too faraway school, unqualified teachers, very crowded-student class, being not value education from parents, no motivation from government, security risk, and poor organized- public expenditure for offering education to all children, significantly girls from poor families in rural and remote zones in Cambodia to respond to their own goals and as well as the six goals of international education for all. In truth, girls’ dropout of school from poor families in rural and remote areas appears to be high through Cambodian education context so government needs to take actions to help for developing. We must promote and value girls in education, give more opportunities to women in every social action, significantly, needy girls in rural and remote areas and give up the out of date idea which always reckons that women are always in the kitchen and only look after children.
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