About Me

Oct 11, 2011

Catching Up or Falling Behind: Cambodian Education in The Age of Globalization

I write this article to pinpoint the challenges we are to face in the 21st century. I help to diagnose the problems of could think of.  And I left the solution to our policymakers. I’m afraid that we are not ready for the coming job war.
What worries me is not about getting the job for our people but about getting a decent-paying job. Remember that we compete not only with our neighbors but also the rest of the world. We have to compete with two billion people in China and India. Given the fact US exports revolutions and, of course, brings democracy to Arab World, we have to compete with another one billion. Africa is also emerging, although with a slow pace.
We share great similarities. Cheap labor, export-driven economy, cheap credits are the similarities we all share.  There’s too much labor supply as there’s limited demand.  It makes sense to say that we are competing to survive not to thrive.
I’m frustrated when it comes to Cambodian education in the age of globalization. The system stills very much revolve around rote learning. I do agree things are improving fast but not fast enough to catch up with the rest. In coming decades, we have to “compete with everyone from everywhere for everything”, thanks to globalization.
If we play globalization game and lose, that would be worse than a failure. Look at what’s happing in other developing countries and prepare ourselves for those challenges.  To reform our education system to get ahead of the tide in a short time is something that is of great difficulties.
Our students are still very much low-connected and the command of English is still bad, making our forthcoming workers uncompetitive in fiercer world. That’s unfair for them. But there has been a marked stride in term of access to technology. English command is still overall poor. It needs to be developed faster than current pace.
We should not take Internet access for granted. If we could not reform the education fast enough, we should reform the ways they learn. Make them more and more connected in an increasingly connected world. Internet is the master of the universe and it’s, somehow, still a stranger to some of our students.
Again, change the ways Cambodian students learn, if we are unable to keep ourselves ahead of the trend. Make the Internet more and more accessible at a lower price. France language was one of our strengths. But now it becomes our weaknesses. If you can get both or more, it’s good for you. There is an English proverb that goes: Jack of all trades is the master of none.
We should arrange a national discussion under a topic “How can we get the most of our limited resources?” In this century, we compete with the world. I think the challenges we face are really huge. Unpredicted challenges need unprecedented solutions.
If we fail this time, it will take decades to get back on out feet.  We have more than four billion competitors: More than one billion in Africa, more than one billion in Middle East and Arab, more than one billion in India and the rest is in China. We are catching up but, at the same time, we are falling behind too. I’m frustrated with our education system. On the contrary, I’m an optimist. So, I’m a frustrated optimist. Share your solution for a better Cambodia. Thanks for your service…