Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - More education funds urged

More education funds urged

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Education Partnership executive director Chin Chanveasna speaks at a conference on education funding yesterday in Phnom Penh. SOKHA PIN

More education funds urged

A group of NGOs from the education sector yesterday urged the government to boost education spending to at least 20 percent of the country’s budget – a benchmark the Ministry of Education had hoped, and failed, to hit last year under its strategic plan.

Currently, education spending accounts for 18.3 percent of government spending, well short of the ministry’s goal of 23.1 percent for 2017, and its hoped-for budget for 2018 of 25 percent.

Although the ministry has seen budget increases in recent years, Cambodia’s investment in education remains lower than in neighbouring countries.

Chin Chanveasna, executive director for the NGO Education Partnership, said Cambodia’s current education spending only represents 2.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). By comparison, Vietnam spends 7 percent of its GDP on education.

“We want [spending of] at least 20 percent” of the national budget, he said. Since 2014, the ministry’s budget has increased year-on-year. This year’s allocation is $600 million, up from 2014’s $335 million, or around 16 percent of total spending, according to ministry spokesman Ros Salin.

“It’s a remarkable growth,” he said, without answering questions regarding why those figures still fall below the projected budgets in the ministry’s strategic plan.

Salin maintained that Cambodia’s spending on education is higher than that of other countries with a similar GDP, such as Cameroon, which in 2014 spent less than 14 percent of its national budget on education.

Son Chhay, a Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmaker, accused rich government officials of neglecting public education because they send their children to study abroad.

“When they try to think from [the perspective] of the majority of the people, maybe they would understand,” he said. Chhay said money that could be funnelled to education is instead going to other, more frivolous areas.

“I think [the government] seems to take less interest [in education],” he said. “The government has to be more serious and provide a more responsible budget.”

According to Chanveasna, 4 out of every 5 dollars of the ministry’s budget goes towards salaries, with the remainder spread among some 20,000 schools.

Chin Sam Oeun, education officer at ActionAid Cambodia, said his organisation sees firsthand the budget constraints faced by schools.“They don’t have enough . . . [to] achieve what they want,” he said.

Chanveasna said education spending from the government should be considered as an “investment” rather than“expenditure”.

“When you invest in the education sector, the return will be greater,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Is Cambodia’s travel sector in for another cheerless holiday season?

    The travel and tourism sector was heaving back to life as borders started to reopen, promising a festive vibe for the holidays and New Year. But Omicron and other Covid-related issues are threatening to close the year on a bleak note ‘Seems [like] Covid-19 won’

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Hun Sen: Manet to be candidate for prime minister

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has reaffirmed that his oldest son Hun Manet will be his successor as Prime Minister if he is elected. Speaking during the inauguration of a new sewage treatment facility in Preah Sihanouk province on December 2, Hun Sen said Manet will be