The Lingering Effects of the Cambodian Genocide on Education

Decimated by genocide, Cambodia’s educational progress so far is surely commendable.

Two weeks ago, high school students across Cambodia sat for their national exams. It has been four years since stringent anti-cheating reforms were introduced, which resulted that year in more than 70 percent of students failing their exams. This multifaceted push for reformation, spearheaded by Education Minister Hang Choun Naron, aims to improve an education system still recovering from the Cambodian genocide.

Four decades ago, from 1975-1978, the Khmer Rouge conducted a genocidal campaign, killing between approximately 1.2 to 2.8 million Cambodians — one-quarter of the country’s population. During this senseless violence, more than 90 percent of the country’s financial and educated elite were targeted and killed.

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