Cambodia is in the phase of building ICT infrastructure and an ICT literate workforce. Public access to computers and the Internet is limited while a major portion of populace has little or no access to computers or the Internet. However the number of internet users in Cambodia has increased from just 6000 users in the year 2000 to approximately 927,500 users in 2014, with an internet penetration (%population) of 6.0%. The major factors influencing poor access to the Internet are availability of electricity, cost of equipment and cost of connection.
As a developing country, Cambodia has made significant progress in strengthening its economy after the long conflicts and political crises. Since education still remains widely underdeveloped, the conditions of improving the educational infrastructure, facilitating open access resources, and strengthening the higher education system remain to be far from realization. However the country has made a beginning through open initiatives and programs. The Open Schools Program – Cambodia, is a joint project of the Open Institute and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport of the Royal Government of Cambodia (MoEYS), to improve the quality of education using ICT. Open Institute has initiated few other programmes like Khmer Software Initiative and E-Learning to promote open source in Khmer language localization and local content development. With the introduction of Khmer Unicode and the increased localization of applications software, the content in Khmer language will increase the quality of content. Cambodian government has been keenly working to promote ICT and open access of information as the National Information Communications Technology Development Authority – NiDA – declared on 13 September 2001 uphold that: All laws, regulations and policies in the IT sector will reflect the following guiding spirit and philosophy:
- to uphold the interests of the consumers and general public
- to guarantee security of information, while facilitating the broadest possible access to public information
- to respect individual rights, and
- to avoid dependency on proprietary systems, instead promoting open systems and interoperability.
As of May 2015, there is one OA journal published in Cambodia (Cambodian Journal of Natural History) which is indexed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). There are currently no OA repositories from Cambodia listed in the Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR).
The open access environment is not conducive as the society is reeling under the developmental issues and improvement in governance, civil society participation for democracy, democratization of information and development programmes are critically vital for building an empowered and informed society.
Poor knowledge of English impedes scientific communication with international communities. Developing content in Khmer language is a big challenge. Since the policies, programmes, and initiatives are yet to take off, especially in higher education sector, the challenges for developing open content are immense. Technological barriers in terms of infrastructure and capacity persist.
List of Publications
- Advocacy and Policy Institute. (2010). Introduction to access to information in Cambodia.
- Sorasak, P., & Kosona, C. (2010). Digital Review of Asia Pacific Report on Cambodia.
- Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, Kingdom of Cambodia (2004). Policy and Strategies on Information and Communication Technology in Education in Cambodia.
Past and Future OA related Activities
- 27 Oct 2013-- Cambodia Open Access Week 2013: Connecting the Dots: The local #OpenMovement community in Cambodia hosted this event in Phnom Penh to promote Open Access and other Open Movements in Cambodia. Cambodia participated for the first time in this week long celebration.
- 2011-- Free Open Source Software at FOSS Asia, held on January 29, 2011.
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