Basic Education in Cambodia: The Impact of UNESCO onPolicies in the 1990s


  • Sideth S. Dy Hiroshima University
  • Akira Ninomiya Hiroshima University



Efforts to enhance opportunities for Basic Education have been growing within many developing nations after the1990 World Conference on Education For All (WCEFA) in Jomtien, Thailand. In the face of political turmoil, financial constraint and social insecurity, Cambodia with the encouragement and assistance of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), took measures to increase educational opportunities for all her citizens through Basic Education strategic plans and pledged to eradicate illiteracy by the year 2000. This article examines the  joint efforts during the 1990s of this organization as a key assistance and support UN agency for educational policy and strategy formulations, and the Cambodian government as a national agency for educational initiatives and implementation. UNESCO’s inputs for policy implementation are also detailed to evaluate the overall impact of the organization during the last decade. Analyses are based primarily on interviews with some key government policymakers, fieldwork observation and interviews with school-aged children, several speeches of top government officials, and existing related official education statistics and indicators in Cambodia.


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Author Biographies

Sideth S. Dy, Hiroshima University

Sam Sideth Dy, a Cambodian survivor of the past two decades of civil war (1970s-1980s) in Cambodia, is currently enrolled in a PhD Program at the Graduate School of Education, Hiroshima University. His field of specialization is Education and Human Sciences. Before coming to Japan in 1998, he was a senior lecturer of English language teaching methodology at the Royal University of Phnom Penh where he earned his first university degree. He holds membership in Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) and Japan Comparative Education Society. His area of research is basic education policy in Cambodia.

Akira Ninomiya, Hiroshima University

Akira Ninomiya is a Professor of Comparative and International Education and Assistant Dean of the Graduate School of Education, Hiroshima University. He has published several books and articles such as Cross-Cultural Perspectives (1995); Societies and Schools in the 21st Century (2000); and “World Citizenship” (American Educational Research Journal, vol.41, no. 1999 – co-authored with Walter Parker, and John Cogan).




How to Cite

Dy, S. S. ., & Ninomiya, A. (2003). Basic Education in Cambodia: The Impact of UNESCO onPolicies in the 1990s. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 11, 48.