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Cambodia Education Facts


A serious problem in Cambodia is the residents’ lack of education. The school system was virtually crushed by the Red Khmer in the 1970s. An entire generation grew up without learning to read and write. Illiteracy is now steadily declining and almost all children are starting school, although many still do not complete their studies.

The Vietnam-supported regime that began after the Red Khmer in 1979 began to rebuild the school system, but many textbooks were politically colored (Vietnam-friendly) and higher education was reserved for young people whose parents were members of the power elite. Even today, there is a shortage of schools, teaching materials and educated teachers, and the quality of education is thus low.

  • COUNTRYAAH: Country facts of Cambodia, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.

The children start school at the age of six and have formal schooling for nine years. Tuition is free of charge, but it does not apply to school uniforms, books and other materials. Many also have a long way to go to school. This contributes to many children being absent or leaving school altogether, especially in rural areas. Children from poor families often have to help with their livelihood. By the middle of the 2010s, seven out of ten boys and eight out of ten girls completed the first six school years.

With the support of assistance, there are scholarships for high school students that allow more people to stay in school. In 2015, eight out of ten students went on to the three-year high school, but significantly fewer completed the studies.

According to official statistics from 2013, almost every third person aged 15-25 had completed all nine school years. In the 20-25 age group, only one of ten had high school grades. Of those over the age of 25, the proportion with less than six years of schooling was close to 40 percent.

In Phnom Penh there are universities, art college, technical college, teacher college, agricultural college and a variety of vocational schools. Only a few percent of Cambodians get college education.

  • Searchforpublicschools: Offers schooling information of Cambodia in each level – compulsory, technical and higher education programs.


Proportion of children starting primary school

90.6 percent (2017)

Number of pupils per teacher in primary school

42 (2017)

Reading and writing skills

80.5 percent (2015)

Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP

9.1 percent (2014)

Public expenditure on education as a percentage of the state budget

9.1 percent (2014)



Budget is adopted without CNRP

Parliament adopts a state budget for 2014, despite the fact that almost half of its members boycott the work.

Temple conflict is decided in Cambodia’s favor

The International Court of Justice in The Hague decides in Cambodia’s favor in the border dispute with Thailand about land areas around the Preah Vihear Temple (see Foreign Policy and Defense).


Protests against the election result continue

CNRP hosts several demonstrations to protest the election results.


New Parliament is set up without CNRP

The Constitutional Council rejects all allegations of irregularities. The newly elected parliament begins its work, but CNRP members boycott it. Hun Sen is elected prime minister for a new five-year term. The opposition organizes large demonstrations in protest against the election result, some violence erupts.


Accusations of election fraud should be investigated

Since the opposition accused the government of electoral fraud, the CPP and CNRP agree to appoint a committee to investigate the allegations.


Two parties claim rolling victories

July 28

Elections are held for the lower house of the National Assembly. Eight parties participate, but only two get seats in the assembly. The CPP claims that it won the 68-seat election against 55 for the CNRP and claims victory. CNRP, on the other hand, claims it has won, with 63 seats against 60 for the CPP.

Sam Rainsy is pardoned

Sam Rainsy, who has lived in exile since 2009, is pardoned by the King, at the advice of Prime Minister Hun Sen. A week later, Rainsy returns to Cambodia, but he has no right to stand in the election.


Illegally deny the crimes of the Red Khmer

The National Assembly adopts a new law that makes it illegal to deny or trivialize the Red Khmer crimes against humanity in the 1970s. Assessors believe that the law is directed at CNRP leader Kem Sokha (see July 2012) who has been accused in state media of denying the existence of a prison under the Red Khmer regime.

Oppositionists are excluded from Parliament

The National Assembly decides to exclude members elected for SRP and HRP, since both parties have now formed CNRP (see October 2012).


Dozens of injured in connection with demonstrations

Over 20 protesters are injured in connection with protests against evictions at Boeung Kak Lake in Phnom Penh (see August 2011). Over 30 factory workers are injured when police crack down on protests against low wages and dangerous work environments.


The radio journalist gets his sentence lowered

An appeals court refuses certain charges against radio journalist Mom Sonando and lowers his sentence to five years of conditional sentence, after which he is released (see October 2012).

The Foreign Minister of the Red Khmer dies

Ieng Sary, one of the prosecutors of the Red Khmer tribunal, dies without the end of the trial against him (see Political system).


Kung Sihanouk is buried

Tens of thousands of Cambodians attend King Sihanouk’s state funeral. A number of foreign dignitaries are also participating, including France’s Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.

Cambodia Best Colleges and Universities