Members of civil society have called on the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport to increase the budget for development in schools by at least five percent to fix country-wide educational issues.
In response, a ministry official said that doing so will depend on economic growth.
San Chey, Executive Director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability (ANSA) Cambodia, said yesterday during the National Workshop on Working Together for Better Education Quality in Cambodia that despite the education sector’s budget for 2015-2016 being more than $500 million, only 20 percent is allocated for school development.
“I want the ministry to give more of the budget to schools. The Ministry of Education should consider an increase, at least, from 20 percent to 25 percent, so meeting basic needs is easier,” Mr. Chey said.
A lack of schools and poor infrastructure within existing schools make attending class difficult, he added, especially during the dry season, when temperatures routinely reach 41 degrees.
“The ministry creates the National Reading Day to enhance reading, but the libraries are still lacking, the schools do not have enough bathrooms or toilets and there is also no electricity,” Mr. Chey said, adding that the recent moves to decentralize the governance of education were promising.
Doing so could increase the activity between communities and schools, as well as schools and parents.
“We are ready to improve the education sector. If we wait for the government, the education quality will improve slowly, which is a danger to our next generation,” Mr. Chey said.
Puth Samith, the Director General of Education at the Education Ministry, said yesterday that while his sector’s budget is very important and the ministry has its own plans and activities, actually allocating more money to schools will depend on the strength of the Cambodian economy.
He then pointed out that before 2000, the education sector received less than 10 percent of the national budget, while in 2016 it received 18.3 percent of it.