Rosemary Coleran: “An exploration into the role of not-for-profit NGO schools in Cambodian primary education.”

In Students by General Account

The educational landscape in Cambodia was changed dramatically following the Khmer Rouge genocide, ending in 1979 with up to 75 per cent of educators killed, leaving a devastated educational system at all levels. Following a decade of Vietnamese rule and the subsequent re-establishment of the Kingdom of Cambodia in 1993, education was delivered by largely under-qualified teachers and extended to just a four-hour school day, leaving insufficient time to cover the full curriculum. In answer, families have the option to pay informal school fees to teachers to deliver the rest of the curriculum in their own time, or send their children to an alternative school in the afternoon, creating space for private actors to supplement state education. I aim to explore the perceptions of some employees of not-for-profit non-governmental organisation (NGO) schools on their supplementation (or replacement) of the state offering, through semi-structured interviews conducted via video-conferencing, and direct observation of some of the schools in person. The data gathered will be subject to thematic analysis to identify perceived benefits and challenges to sharing responsibility for primary education with the state, and to highlight how these private curricula are designed and delivered. This builds upon emerging research on the Cambodian not-forprofit private education system, potentially informing state practice and contributing to wider discourse on public-private partnerships (PPPs) in education.