According to the Law on Education (2007), every citizen has the right to access education of at least 9 years in public schools free of charge (Art.31).
Government expenditure on education is US $ 516 million (2018) or 8.84% of total government expenditure. The school-aged population in primary and secondary education level is 3.8 million (2 million in primary and 1.8 million in secondary level), out of a total population in Cambodia of 16.25 million in 2018. Public budget allocated for education in 2008 was over KHR 600 000 million (US $ 146 million), of which approximately 30% was at the central level, and 70% at the provincial level. Households spend KHR 5000 (US $1.22) per month on average, out of KHR 1.84 million (US $447) corresponding to 1% of household consumption. Public legal entities, private legal entities and/or natural persons have the right to raise the proposal of formation of educational establishments. The Ministry in charge of education shall prepare regulations and principles for the establishment and administration of either public or private educational institution according to their types (Art.11).
The different sources of financing for the education sector are subject to different mechanisms. The National Budget (which includes budget support)finances recurrent spending whereas donor and NGO support covers capital expenditures. Only the recurrent budget is allocated to the education sector. Recurrent budgeting can be classified into non-programme budgeting and programme-based budgeting (PBB) for both central and provincial levels. It is managed by the Budget Management Centres (BMC) existing at all levels of the education sector. The key regulation on PBB is Inter-Ministerial Prakas No. 191 SHV.HK, dated March 26, 2007, on the Principles for Implementation of PBB in Education. PBB covers pre-school, primary school and secondary schools, is formula-based, using two components: i) a fixed allowance for a school; and ii) a variable component depending on the number of students. For each pre-schools it is KHR 200,000-300,000 (US $48-73), plus KHR 6,000 (US $1.46) for each student; for each primary school it is KHR 500,000-700,000 (US $ 122-170), plus KHR 7,000-8,000 (US$1.7-2) for each student; and for each secondary school it is KHR 1-1.5 million (US$ 243-365), plus KHR 15,000-18,000 (US$3.65-4.38) for a student. Other PBB (P2-5) is mainly not formula-based.
The Education Sector Plan (2019-2023) establishes as the first education policies that “all children and youths have access to quality education at all levels, with equity and inclusivity, especially children from disadvantaged families and out-of-school youths”. Strategies include:
- School meal: the target is to reach 40 000 student beneficiaries of food at school per year;
- Scholarship: the target is to benefit 90 000 students in primary education per year and 70 000 students per year in lower secondary;
- Distribution of textbooks for 90% of primary students.
More than 260,000 students (6.8% of school-aged population) at 1,167 primary schools in eight Cambodian provinces have benefited from free school meals so far in the 2018-2019 academic year, with support from the WFP and other development partners. WFP has allocated a total budget of US $41 million for all its projects for 2019-2023 (2% of yearly expenditure in education), while the Japanese government provided US $ 3.2 million to the government through the programme.
The Education Sector plan has a component for youths, planning to provide youth with access to education and vocational training with quality and equality. Among its activities is the expansion of post-secondary education programmes and youth centers for out-of-school youth, as well as plans to expand the number of out-of-school youth attending the Basic Education Equivalency Programme from 250 in 2018 to 1,250 in 2023. Another goal is, by 2023, to increase the number of illiterate students completing literacy programmes to 72,000 (2% of school-aged children), from 16,850 in 2018. The youth component has a budget of US $ 40 million for the 2018-2023 period, averaging at US $ 8 million per year (2% of expenditure in education).
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS) is implementing a US $ 20.6 million grant from GPE, to improve the quality of primary education, especially for children from disadvantaged groups, and foster effective leadership and management of education staff. Of this amount, US$14.4 million supports the strengthening teacher education, and US$6.2 million (1% of education expenditure) is linked to the achievement of specific results to improve education equity, efficiency and learning outcomes. This last variable allocation has an equity-focused primary scholarship programme. An estimated 86,126 primary students (52 per cent girls) received primary education scholarships in SY2016/17, covering around 4% of primary children attending school.
According to the National Social Protection Policy Framework (2016-2025), MoEYS implemented scholarship programs at primary school level, which provide scholarships of US $ 60 a year to 75,000 students in grades 4 to 6 (3.8% of primary level school-aged population), which total approximately 4.5 million, or 0.8% of education expenditure). Another 25,000 students receive scholarships from WFP (1.25% of primary level school-aged population). Primary school scholarships encourage children from poor and vulnerable families to enroll on time. In addition, MoEYS has also provided scholarships to students from poor and vulnerable families at secondary education level in order to encourage youths to continue their education.
There is no publicly available information on this topic.