The French school system prevailed until the 1960s in
Cambodia. Under the 1974–79 terrorist regime, the
educational system totally collapsed. A large part of the
teaching staff was killed. It is claimed that 75% of
teachers and 80% of students in higher education
institutions were either killed or fled.
After 1979, the laborious work of building a new
educational system began. The country has been in dire need
of assistance in this work, and the Norwegian Save the
Children have been involved in teacher education projects.
Initially, it focused on literacy programs and primary
school education. There is a 6 year compulsory schooling for
children between 6 and 12 years. Access to basic education
has increased significantly, although there are major
regional differences. In 1999, approx. 89% of children in
primary school. The high school is divided into two (3 + 3
years). About. 22% of young people leave high school and 11%
from high school. There are large differences between
regions and between genders in access to higher education.
In general, the quality of education is low and access to
textbooks and other equipment is low. See TOPSCHOOLSINTHEUSA for TOEFL, ACT, SAT testing locations and high school codes in Cambodia.
Khmer is the official language of instruction, but access
to textbooks in the language is limited. It creates
problems, especially in higher education. About 30% of the
adult population is illiterate, among women approx. 40%
1945 Cambodia declares itself independent
In 1941, the French colony administration appointed a
young prince of 18 years, Norodom Sihanouk, to reign over
Cambodia. They hoped that they would easily be able to
politically manipulate the young inexperienced king. But
when the Japanese withdrew from the country on March 12,
1945, the young king declared it independent. Nevertheless,
at the end of World War II, France again occupied Indochina,
but while Vietnam embarked on an anti-colonial war, the
Cambodian king maneuvered to gain greater autonomy for his
However, the struggle against the French colonial
government overshadowed the historical contradictions
between Khmer and Vietnamese. But the fight against France
in Cambodia never became a real mass movement. The
resistance movement in Indochina was led by the Vietnamese.
In 1947, a new constitution was adopted that retained
Norodom Sihanouk as king, but had limited powers of power.
In 1949 a new agreement was concluded, after which the
French took care of defense and foreign policy alone, while
the other political issues were left to a "local"
parliament. In 1951, the Indochinese Communist Party was
dissolved and replaced by three independent Communist
parties. One in Vietnam, one in Laos and one in Cambodia.
All the parties built wider front organizations in the fight
against France. Due to the difficult military situation,
France gave Cambodia independence as early as 1953 - half a
year before the French defeat in Vietnam which led to the
Geneva Agreement in May 1954. It required an immediate
withdrawal of the French troops in Vietnam and Laos, but
that happened only regrouping, and the liberation movements
gained control of North Vietnam and two provinces of Laos.
The Geneva Agreement also provided for the Vietnamese
liberation forces to withdraw from Cambodia. It also
happened while making large parts of the Cambodianliberation
movement put down the weapons.
In 1955, Sihanouk abdicated in favor of his father, so
that he could devote himself to political life. At the
election that year, his party won all seats in the National
Assembly. In 1960, the prince took over the prime minister