An US$800,000 grant will help increase access to upper secondary education for poor girls in Cambodia through the provision of residential facilities with media learning centers.
While primary education enrollment rates have improved significantly, with participation rates of 84% for boys and 81% for girls, the enrollment rates for secondary education have dropped drastically over the last six years to 17% for boys and 8% for girls in upper secondary grades. This is the lowest in the Southeast Asian region.
Poor families cannot afford to keep their daughters in school and consequently, girls in Cambodia drop out of school after grade 6. In addition, for reasons of personal security, girls are generally not permitted to travel long distances and live away from families to attend upper secondary schools because there are no secure residential facilities away from home.
To date, residential facilities have been established in Cambodia for primary schools and a few lower secondary schools. These facilities have been primarily used as accommodation for students but do not offer any training opportunities such as life skills training.
Evidence shows that the expansion of such residential facilities to learning centers, which provide life skills training through the use of information and communications technology (ICT), has the potential to broaden their knowledge, thus improving their chances of career development, says Barbara Lochmann, an ADB Social Development Specialist.