Bilingual Education

@UNESCO/Sun Lei - Taveng District, Ratanakiri - Brao Ethic Minority Village

Literacy in the national and official language is essential; however literacy in the native language and/or other languages is also useful for their lives in their respective societies and communities. We have Khmer literacy programmes and bilingual literacy programmes for the ethnic minority groups managed by all key players in the education sector in Cambodia.

Around twenty languages are spoken in the country. Khmer is the official national language and spoken by more than 95% of the population. Whilst Khmer is spoken widely within the country, it is not spoken as generally in the remote highland regions. Various prominent government officials endorsed equitable access to basic education and thus the importance of bilingual education as basic human right as well as a strategy for poverty reduction. However, there is still the lack of the awareness towards mother-tongue based bilingual education in the general public and in some ethnic communities. Moreover, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MOEYS) has very limited budget and capacity for this and bilingual education interventions still depend largely on pilot programmes supported by NGOs.

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