By Yean Sochetra. UNICEF Cambodia Voices of Youth 2019.
Currently, the most challenging issue that children in Cambodia face is financial support. It is an arduous problem that many youngsters are not able to support their education due to a lack of money. As it is known, Cambodia is a developing country, so the living standard of some parts of the populations is low. According to the Humanium organization, around 30 percent of total populations live in poverty and more than 10% of children are unable to go to school. Some families are not wealthy, especially those who live in provinces, and this makes it even harder for their children to pursue education since it requires money to study.
To illustrate, I, who came from a province, met a lot of difficulties in learning when I was young. At that time, my parents had to make a difficult decision whether they would let me study at primary school or not, since we were not rich enough and I almost ended up dropping out. Honestly, I sometimes skipped my classes to help my parents’ work.
However, my parents worked hard from dawn to dusk to financially support my studying, and I got a bike to ride to go school. Some youngsters have decided not to continue their education and others have dropped out of school because of financial problems. They start finding jobs from young ages. Some students cannot concentrate on their studying due to such trouble.
Currently, at Kandal province, the Ministry of Labor found that one industry was illegally employing children to work at a brick kiln, and those children did not go to school based on the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre. Moreover, Phnom Penh Post newspaper also showed that a 12-year-old girl, Sy Oeur, met the same case at Battambong province. This is a sad story that a lot of children are spending a huge amount of time working so hard to work while they should have been at school.
Despite having financially struggled for their studies, children still can access education with a few feasible solutions. A key step is that their parents themselves should try to find a suitable job providing some money to get their children into education. Many organizations such as New Hope Cambodia, Cambodian Children’s Fun, and UNICEF are helping the parents financially and physically to improve their living standards, so they are more likely to send their kids to school.
The next step is about the support from the government. Children should get funds from governmental sectors when they need help. Actually, the government has provided some ways to support children’s education, such as promoting charity, giving some financial support and school materials for those who are not that rich. Plus, according to USAID, the Cambodia government spent 18.31 % of the national budget on education in 2016, enriching the education system. However, it is still not enough. It would be even better if the government can do something more to help those children left behind to be able to attend school. Children are the future generation in developing our society and country, so we all should take their education seriously.