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					          Regional Seminar in Asia

     Gender Equality in Basic Education:

Major Challenges to meet the Dakar EFA Goals

          28 to 30 November 2001
                Kyoto, Japan

            Situation Review on

         Women and girls' Education

   and Gender Equality in Basic Education

                                Mr. LEANG NGUONLY
                          Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport

Table of Contents

   I.     Introduction
   II.    General picture of women's education
   III.   Key gender issues and possible solutions
   IV.    National Commitment, Policy and Programmes on Women and Girls' Education
   V.     Cambodia's Commitment to the Education For All (EFA)
   VI.    VI. National Level Cooperation and Coordination Mechanism
   VII.   Desired Regional Cooperation and Networking

Annex 1: Timeframe for the work plan of EFA Working Groups

Annex 2: Data and Graph
I. Introduction

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) recognizes that disparities exist in
the nature of girls' and boys' educational participation in Cambodia. As part of its reform
process, in January 1998, MoEYS established a National Task Force on Girls' Education, in
cooperation with the Ministry of Women's Affairs and with assistance by CARE
International. The task force was mandated to review the current situation of girls' access,
retention and achievement in the formal education system and to devise a Draft National
Action Plan that could guide MoEYS efforts to assure the provision of quality and equitable
education for all Cambodian children. The work was carried out over a six month period
and resulted in a Regional survey on Girls' Education in Cambodia and a Draft National
Action Plan on Girls' Education (1998-2003).

In 1999 MoEYS initiated a sector review and development process which led to the
formulation of an education strategic plan (ESP) 2001-2005 and a set of programs of
implementing this plan, and education sector support program (ESSP) 2001-2005. The
ESP/ESSP represents a rolling program of reforms which will be reviewed and developed
each year. As this program of reforms moves forward, gender issues will become a more
integrated part of program planning, implementation and monitoring.

The overarching priority of MoEYS plans is to contribute to the national policy priority of
poverty reduction. MoEYS is aware of the gender disparities in the education system and
recognises the importance of girls' education in achieving these policy targets. In response
to this, MoEYS has initiated a number of activities to ensure the integration of gender
equity concerns in the planning process, including a gender appraisal of the ESP, and the
formation of a Gender Working Group within MoEYS in October 2001 with linkages to
provincial offices and other NGO/donor resource agencies. In addition, the EFA National
Committee has established an inter-ministerial Working Group in Charge of the Elimination
of Gender Disparities in Basic Education, which is responsible for achieving EFA Goal 5
adopted by the World Education Forum in Dakar in April 2000.

II. General picture of women and girls' education

Cambodia has an estimated population of around 13 million, of which 51.8% are women.
The population is projected to reach 20 million by 2021. 25.7% of Cambodia's 2.18 million
households are headed by women.

Adult literacy in Cambodia is estimated at 82.9 % for men and 6 1.1 % for women (1999).
More than one in three people over 25 years of age have not attended school, and of these,
73 % are women. As much as 42 % of Cambodian women and 21 % of men have never
attended school.

Cambodian boys and girls start on equal footing in school. They have roughly similar
school enrolment rate up to age 10, but girls start falling behind boys in school enrolment
after that age. Grades 4 and 5 see very high dropout rates for girls. There is an inverse
relationship between level of education and girls' participation. As education level increases,
enrolment rates of girls decrease.   By age 15, male enrolment is 50 percent higher, and by
age 18 male enrolment rates are nearly three times as large as female enrolment rates. (MoP
1998; MWVA 200 1).

See Annexes for detailed tables of school enrolment, flow rates, and dropouts.

III. Key gender issues and possible solutions

These outcomes are a combination of a number of social, cultural and economic factors.
Firstly, although girls enrol at roughly the same age as boys, earlier dropout occurs with the
onset of puberty and as family responsibilities begin to predominate. Secondly, it is
reported that parents are often less willing to invest in educating females, which is a critical
factor when parental contributions are a large share of education spending. A number of
policy/strategy interventions for assuring equitable access to schooling are being
considered by the Ministry.

One strategy is an awareness campaign and possible regulations to encourage girls to enroll
at the official entry age. A second strategy is a targeted incentive program for girls from
poor families linked to school performance and attendance measures. An associated
strategy could be linking the proposed incentive scheme with a targeted school-feeding
program. Such approaches are currently being piloted in selected provinces with external
assistance (e.g. Asia Foundation in Kompong Cham, World Bank/World Food Program
support in Takeo).

Similar gender disparities are evident in the education service. Male teachers represent 63%
and 73% of the primary and secondary teaching force. In the managerial and administrative
cadres, men represent 73% of total. In the provincial and district education offices, males
represent around 80% of total staffing. In many instances, the females are concentrated in
lower level secretarial and support staff duties. The main factor is the low proportion of
women with the required academic and professional qualifications for high level and
teaching positions. The long-term strategy should be to gradually assure equitable access to
secondary and post secondary education, possibly linked to short-term affirmative 'action in
promoting qualified female education personnel.

The disadvantages of Cambodian women and girls to equal access to education
opportunities are a result of a complex dynamics of three important issues:       poverty,
culture and geographic issues. (MoP 1998; MoEYS 1998). In the context of Cambodia, it is
difficult to determine, at the moment, which of these issues most significantly impact on
girls' access to education. It is certainly a research question that needs further analysis,
especially an in-depth inquiry on the debate of the role of culture on girls' access to
education. There is also no significant analysis that will shed light on the comparative
expenditure between girls and boys' education especially among poor households that may
correlate with parental decisions to withdraw girls from school.

In response to the lack of detailed research on girls' access to schooling, MoEYS
commissioned a study in September 2001 to give an initial picture of why girls are not in
school or why they discontinue schooling. Some of the key findings of this study are:
   Girls are needed in housework, sibling care and farm work
   School is too far away from home
   Take care of sick members of the family
   Girls need to help earn income
   Parents do not see the value and importance of education of girls
   Culture and Tradition/Marriage
   Security risks when travelling to school
   Parents are too poor
   Late enrolment/to start school
   Lack of good teachers: not paying attention to girls and their needs
   School environment and facilities are not girl-friendly; overcrowded classrooms
   No/lack water and toilet facilities
   Girls have low self-image

   These findings confirm that poverty, culture and geography all play a part in
    keeping girls out of school. The perception of girls' role in the family, combined
    with the demands of survival faced by poor rural households represents the major
    challenge to improving the enrollment and retention of girls in basic education. It is
    also clear that the school environment also plays an important part in this. The study
    raised the need for provision of adequate facilities (including toilets) and improved
    quality of interaction in the learning process and relevance of the curriculum to
    encourage the active participation of girls.

   These issues and strategies are currently being considered by the two key

   working groups: the EFA Gender Working Group and the MoEYS Gender Working
    group. The key terms of      reference of the recently formed Gender Working Group
    include developing policies to address these issues that can be integrated more fully
    into the

   MoEYS priority programs as set out in the strategic plan and sector support

   IV. National Commitment, Policy and Programmes on Women and Girls' Education

   The Cambodian Constitution, promulgated in 1993, legally recognizes women's and
    men's roles as equal in all fields of endeavour and life.

   The Royal Government of Cambodia recently formulated Second Five-Year
    Socio-Economic Development Plan, 2001-2005 recognizes the need to, integrate
    gender equity perspectives in education planning and policy reforms.

   In 1996 a National Policy for Women was adopted to provide guidelines to ensure
    the integration of women's concerns into all sectors of development, and to promote
    gender equity in education, and other opportunities and benefits of development.

   In 1998, the MoEYS drafted the National Action Plan for Girls' Education 1998-

   2003 which identifies priority issues to be addressed in order to improve

   access, retention and achievement of Cambodian girls. It also included

   strategies to address priority areas and delineates indicators with which to measure

   progress towards the objectives of the plan.
      The Cambodian government is a signatory of the Convention of the Rights of
       Children (CRC), the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action for Women, and the
       Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women

All of these provided national frameworks for policy formulation and regulations to Gender
to promote the advancement of women, including girls' education, and to guarantee their
welfare and rights. These also served as guiding principles in addressing gender issues and
concerns in development initiatives in Cambodia.

V. Cambodia's Commitment to the Education For All (EFA)

At the Dakar Conference, Cambodia declared its commitment to ensure that all children,
with special emphasis on girls    including the poorest, working children and children with
special needs complete a good quality primary education by 2015. It will provide
equitable access to basic and continuing education programmes for adults and achieve a
significant reduction in gender disparities. It has set the goal of eliminating gender
disparities in basic education and aim for gender equity in education programmes,
institutions and systems by 2015. In order to ensure the planning and monitoring of policy
and strategy for EFA goals, the Government established by sub-decree an National EFA
Committee in August 200 1, chaired by the Minister of Education with the Prime Minister
acting as Honorary Chairperson.

National EFA Plan and the MoEYS Education Sector Support Programme (ESSP)

It is on the basis of commitments to Education for All that the Government of Cambodia
and MoEYS prepared complementary and mutually reinforcing national plans: The
National EFA Plan, and the Education Sector Support Programme which emphasize and
prioritize the urgent need to correct gender disparities in education, alongside
socio-economic, cultural and geographic disadvantages.
The MoEYS Education Sector Support Programme 2001-2005 has made specific
references to address gender equity 'issues in the priority programmes. The ESSP document
sets out broad programme plans within a framework of priorities matched to resources
available to the Ministry. These programme plans will be reviewed and rolled forward each
year, and in terms of gender issues this will provide the opportunity to integrate strategic
priorities as individual programme implementation moves forward.

The next phase of detailed programme implementation planning for 2002 is currently
underway. Strategies to correct inequities in the representation of females in the education
system and access of girls to school will be included in these plans. This will include the
following strategies:

      Enrolment campaign and regulations to ensure children (especially girls) enroll at
       the official entry age

      Targeted scholarship programme for girls from poor families e targeted school
       feeding programme

VI. National Level Cooperation and Coordination Mechanism

      EFA Gender Working Group (inter-ministerial cooperation, alongside NGOs and
       donor agencies): Formulates policies and plans towards national commitment to
       correct significant gender disparities in education. To achieve Goal V of the EFA
       and develop a long term national EFA plan (2002-2015).

      MoEYS Gender Working Group (Ministry-wide and interdepartmental including
       provincial and local education offices ) : addresses gender mainstreaming agenda of
       the Ministry in support of the EFA goal to achieve equitable, socially inclusive,
       gender responsive, quality education for all Cambodians. Develop medium term
       planning, annual planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. On
       December 200 1, the MoEYS Gender Working Group is set to draft the 5 years
       MoEYS Gender

Mainstreaming Strategy in Education for 2002-2006 as an accompanying plan of the ESSP.

      NGO Education Partnership - NGOs in Cambodia supporting MoEYS' efforts in
       education reforms in Cambodia.

      DUCAM - an informal network of non-government organizations, I and donor
       agencies with education programmes/projects in Cambodia meeting monthly for
       information exchange

Technical Assistance Needed

      Design, implementation and monitoring of Girls' Education Programmes

      Develop sustained attention and allocation of resources to implement gender
       mainstreaming plan and strategies of the MoEYS, particularly awareness-raising,
       changing attitudes, increasing female participation in education delivery services
       and management, and en enhancing gender technical capacity in education
       programming and policy formulation.

VII. Desired Regional Cooperation and Networking

      Network that promotes cooperation and regular forum to exchange experiences and
       learnings of development initiatives and best practices in promoting girls' access to
       education and mainstreaming gender in the education institutions and systems.
   National and regional monitoring approaches and strategies in support of EFA
    gender equity goals, including delineating country- specific and regional gender
    equity indicators and database management.

   Information and advocacy campaign on gender equitable education.
                                          Annex I

Timeframe for the work plan of EFA Working Groups:

November (3 working days)

      Identification of available information
      Collect and share this information with the group
      Review linkages with ESP/ESSP. What has already been put in place in the plans up
       to 2005?   What are the overlaps and missing gaps with EFA?
      Identify information gaps required for the Working Group.

December (3 working days):

      Agree on how to fill the gaps
      Collect relevant information
      Analyse all information and identify major areas of EFA intervention

January (3 working days):
      Refine major areas of intervention
      Prepare a draft Plan of Action (per Working Group)

February (3 working days):

      Consultation and field visits
      Review draft Plan of Action
      Finalise draft Plan of Action

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