I writing with the concern of lossing my final paper submission that I posted last night at 8.45 Pm. It is very suprise that I cannot see it now. I am very concern about it. I am sure I did post it last night. So I do hope that you understand about that and accept my second post.
Pannasastra University of Cambodia
Faculty of Social Science and International Relation
Final paper of the human Right and world Politic
Student’s Name: Men Ka
Professor: Stan Starygin
Children right to education in rural area of Cambodia
We already know the illiterate people rate in the remote area in Cambodia is still high compared to other countries. Many children can not access to education because they are busy with the house work or they do not have school and they can not afford to school because of the family condition. The majority of the illiterate people are girls because they are the main actors in the family in doing the rice field. So in this paper is going to talk whether the girls in the remote area have right to education or what since the country is adopted the declaration and the covenant regarding to the human right. For example, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights in the article 26 states that “Every one has right to education”.  This paper also elaborates on why they can not access to school or why they decide to drop their children from school and who, boys or girls, are the targets of dropping from school. It also elaborates on whether they, the people in the remote area, understand the law or not.
Cambodia is one of the countries that ratify a lot of international declarations and covenant regarding to human rights; they even insert the declaration into the constitution of the country. However, the reality of the implementation of those treaties applies to human right is still a problem because a lot of cases arise, for instance, the case of domestic violence, women discrimination and child labor right violation. The crucial problem that every body can see with the naked eye is that the majority of the educated people in Cambodia are men rather than women. According to the survey done by the ministry of education in 2003 showed that the majority students in schools are boys but not girls. Most of the girls in the remote area, they at most, are able to learn to know how to read and write only and then they decide or have been decided to quit school to help family. Seeing that the ministry of Education Youth and Sport of Cambodia set a nine grade policy, a policy in which all students in the country are subject to process till grade nine without taking final year examination of the primary school to study the secondary school as the previous one that every body must pass the exam of grade five in order to study grade six which the fresh year of secondary school. There are many factors that causes such case arises but the main factors that most people face are the old traditional belief, economic reason. This does not only happen in the country side or the remote area but it does also in the city but let us discuss about the problem happen in the remote area. However, the major factors that we concern are the traditional belief or practice, the economic reason, and the lack of law understanding.
II. The economic reason
The economy in Cambodia depends strongly on the agriculture in which the work needed a lot of workers to do it. Most of Cambodian people make the living by doing rice field and plantation and they do not have advanced technology as the other countries that use machine for doing it. They use the traditional farm by using buffalos or cows to plough the soil and they need a lot of labors if they have a lot of land. The people that are familiar in doing most parts of the field are girls rather than boys. As a result most of the girls drop the school that they have just been at second or third grade of the primary school either voluntarily or they are asked by their parents to drop school in order to help family in doing the rice field and in order to help them take care the house work because they think girls seem to know much about the housework than boys. According to the chart of the strategic plan of the ministry of Education in 2006-2010 show that the rate of the enrolment of the primary school between boys and girls are similar in the remote area while the statistic show that 82.5% of boys have enrolled and 79.4% of girls have enrolled in year 2004-2005. Furthermore, when Cambodia opens for privatization and factories are invested, many young and adult girls decided to drop the schools for the family economic. They think when they drop school and work as the factory workers; they more or less can help the family besides doing the rice field. Most of them are asked to stop from schooling to ease the family though they are not happy to do so such as the case of Chan Leang below.
Farmers in the remote area, when the season of doing the rice field is finished, do nothing but consuming what they got after collecting the crop of their product. They do not have extra work to do to save the income of the family. Therefore, they send their children to go to the city with the expectation they will have work to do as the garment workers in the city and can support the family though they are learning. If they continue to let their children to study, the whole family will go starving. So they decide to stop one and can ease the family. To quit from school because of the economic reason is not only in the country side but it happen also in the city such as the waste collected children or street children.
III. Traditional belief and practice
In Cambodian society, especially in the remote area, most of the old people have a concept that girls can not do every thing as boy. They treated girls to be house keepers and the only wife who take care the baby, do the house works and cook for husband and children. They do not expect girls to have good job in society but only the husband who is money makers and wife is the keeper those property that husband has earned. Another thing is that the Cambodian culture is not allowed girls to go far from home because they are not easy to take care, especially they afraid that when the girls come out from home and far from the sight of parents, they are easily to get contact with boy and then they are the ones who suffer from boys.
These concept, though some people think it was the old practice of the ancient people, but the reality is that they still practiced in the remote area of Cambodia. The reason that children, especially girls are not allowed to continue the study is that one; the school is far from home and because of the strict tradition and the thought of those old people that girls are supposed to be born to take care the house and family while husbands are the hunter. They never expect girls to be the leader but the only people who follow the husband and parents because they believe when girls know how to read and write, they are afraid their daughters write love letter to boy who they love and that will effect to the strict culture that was left to practice by their ancestors which have been practiced thousands of years.
IV. Lack of law understanding
Most of the people in the remote area are illiterate people in which some of them are not able to read and write the Khmer letter. And in term of law, they do not understand but they just follow what the authority tells them to do. What they believe is what they have practiced in their community. When there is crime happen in the community, they do not know what to do and where to go so that it is easy for the authority who take chance to get profit from the case by compromising what that should not be compromised and those are against the constitution. Even though the constitution states that every adults and young adults of Cambodian people have right to access the education with quality and equity to receive knowledge through the constitution of Cambodia, they still do not allow their children to continue to school because they are afraid of their safety and security.
As I have made an interview many people in the remote area of Cambodian in Svay Rieng province where it is very far from the crowd place, they told me almost the same thing that they do not allow their daughter to study far from home because they concern and worry about their safety. There are many cases regarding to drop school because of the economic reason and because of the traditional practice in the remote area of Cambodia.
V. Chan Leang Case
Cheng Meng village is one of the villages in Angtaso commune, Svay Chrum district, Svay Rieng province. Chan Leang is the 17 years old girl who is now working as a garment worker in one of the factories in Phnom Penh. She has two sisters and five brothers. She is the one among many other girls in the village who has not been continued to study in the secondary school because the family condition and the traditional belief of her parents and grand parents. She was asked to quit from school when she was at grade two of the primary school in her village in order to help her parents in doing the rice field and some other house work such as selling vegetable and fruits that they plant in her house compound.
When I first met her, she was sitting in the yard out side her rented room with a few friends who are working with her. We did some greeting and I show her my student Identity Card of Pannasastra University of Cambodia and telling her that I needed her answer for some question since I work on the right of children to education, especially the girls in the remote area. She said she has no time for that and I dated her for another day. She said she has time on the 3rd September. I agreed with her and then we made an appointment by 2.00pm.
For the second time of the 3rd September, I started question immediately when met her. I asked when she came to Phnom Penh for her work. She said she came here for four years and he has helped the family a lot. Again I asked her whether she was able to read or write the Khmer letter or not. She laughed and whispered me that she was shy to say about it but she must tell me the truth that actually she used to study but only in the grade two since she was ten. “I enrolled late but early to quit early”, said, Chan Leang. “ I was asked to quit from school when I was at grade two because my parent said that I was not suppose to work and the minister because it was the boy duty. My duty was to take care of family and cook for husband.” She continued that she really wanted to continue her study because she wanted to be lawyer to protect her property when they are violated by other people. However, it just her dream and that dream never comes true. She did not understand what the right was at that time and even now. Her right was in her parents; whatever her parents told her to do that was her right. So when her parents asked her to quit from school, she must do so.
As a result that she came to Phnom Penh, she started to realize that education is important and she was regret about that and said if the time moves backward, she must stand for her right and continue to study. But everything is over, that just the only her dream, she said.
She also said when she has husband; she will get her children to have knowledge because they can build their future because she is the one who is not happy with what she deserves today. She also told me that if she has knowledge, she may have job that is better that this and her parents will be more helped because of her knowledge. And if she has known that she was the one who take care the whole family, she might reject her parent’s proposal and continue to study.
At last she recommend that she insists the government and civil society will help improve the understanding of the right of the people in the remote area through whatever media that can deliver to the target and that there would be the result as she has today.
Though the country as Cambodia that ratifies the international laws in the constitution, there is still a problem regarding to its practice in real situation in the country. As we see clear in the case raised above that girls seem to be discriminated in the remote area and it seem girls have more duty than boys because they are supposed to work in the rice field and take care of family and cook for family.
I would recommend that the civil society whose duty is related to the right and government should have concern about this matter in the remote area and strengthen the right to them and let them get equal education and do not let them feel regret when they understand they should deserve it.
1. Human Right and World Politics (POL 305), compiled by Prof. Stan Starygin, 2007.
2. Kampuchasoriya magazine, Buddhist Institute of Cambodia, May/June/July 1994.
3. Cambodian Constitution
4. Strategic Plan of Ministry of Education for 2006-2010
5. Human Development Sector Report, East Asia and the Pacific Region, the World Bank( the quality Basic Education for All), January 2005
 File://C: Documents and Setting /Dara/Desktop/ Stan/Human rights/UDHR.htm
 Strategic plan of Education2006-2010, ministry of Education, p 6 (Khmer Text)
Tuesday, September 4, 2007