Access to Education for Learners with Disabilities in Cambodia as a Post-Conflict Country

  • Jan Šiška Faculty of Education, Charles University, Prague,
  • Ondřej Suchánek Caritas Czech Republic, Prague

Abstract

After a long civil conflict which ended in the late 1990s, Cambodia has been experiencing a period of rapid economic development. However, improvements in living standards and the advantages gained from the reintegration of Cambodian society into the outside world do not appear to have had a positive effect on Cambodian society in general. In particular, the situation for the majority of Cambodians with disabilities is very different from the rest of society. The genocidal Khmer Rouge regime in the late 1970s and the subsequent extended period of civil unrest are the main reasons for the high prevalence of people with disabilities in this Southeast Asian country.In 2012, the Cambodian Government ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and adopted the first laws for its enforcement. Government and public institutions, however, still directly and indirectly prevent disabled people from active participation on a large scale, and this is most evident in the approach to education. Although Cambodia has been considered to be a stable semi-democratic state for almost two decades, children and young people with disabilities still have limited access to quali-ty education, despite international human rights obligations.The Czech Republic has been supporting Cambodia in several projects run by non-governmental organisations such as Caritas Czech Republic. Since 2010 Caritas has been working in the central province of Takeo to support children with disabilities in their educational development. In this project, Caritas Czech Republic has been working with Catholic Relief Services and experts from the Faculty of Education of Charles Univer-sity in Prague. This paper first introduces the situation of disabled people in Cambodia in the historical and socio-political context. Secondly, the results of a study focusing on the preparation of teacher institutions across the country for special and inclusive educa-tion are presented. The study was conducted during 2012 and 2013. The results show that only a very small number of these institutions are actively preparing educators to work with learners with disabilities. There is a need for more intense training for all tutors and teachers. The training programmes should focus on a range of disabilities, assistive devices, inclusive curriculum and management of inclusion in the context of the current demands on teachers at all levels of the educational system.
Published
Dec 14, 2015
How to Cite
ŠIŠKA, Jan; SUCHÁNEK, Ondřej. Access to Education for Learners with Disabilities in Cambodia as a Post-Conflict Country. Development, Environment and Foresight, [S.l.], v. 1, n. 2, p. 77-91, dec. 2015. ISSN 2336-6621. Available at: <http://def-journal.eu/index.php/def/article/view/10>. Date accessed: 12 dec. 2019.

Keywords

disability: inclusion: rights: socio-political context: access to education: Cambodia