The Political Economy of Primary Education Reform in Cambodia

ESID Working Paper No 58. Manchester: Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre, The University of Manchester

37 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2017

See all articles by Tim Kelsall

Tim Kelsall

Overseas Development Institute (ODI)

Sothy Khieng

Cambodia Development Resource Institute (CDRI)

Chuong Chantha

Cambodia Development Resource Institute (CDRI)

Tieng Muy

Cambodian Development Resource Institute

Date Written: June 2, 2016

Abstract

This paper examines the quality of primary education provision in Cambodia using a ‘political settlements’ framework developed at the University of Manchester. The framework characterises Cambodia as a ‘hybrid’ settlement with a weak dominant party and predatory administration, albeit with some islands of administrative effectiveness. Such states can achieve developmental progress in circumscribed areas with multi-stakeholder support, but more wide-ranging, top-down reforms will normally disappoint. We use the framework retrospectively to explain the balance between quantity and quality in Cambodia’s education provision, and also prospectively to assess the prospects for reform. We conclude that, although new leadership in the education ministry promises to bring faster, deeper reform than ever before, powerful forces for inertia still exist. These forces could potentially be alleviated with enhanced international support, but development partners’ current ways of working leave much to be desired. The paper concludes by outlining a number of policy options.

Keywords: Cambodia, development, education, political economy, political settlements

Suggested Citation

Kelsall, Tim and Khieng, Sothy and Chantha, Chuong and Muy, Tieng, The Political Economy of Primary Education Reform in Cambodia (June 2, 2016). ESID Working Paper No 58. Manchester: Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre, The University of Manchester. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2894172 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2894172

Tim Kelsall (Contact Author)

Overseas Development Institute (ODI) ( email )

111 Westminister Bridge Rd.
London, SE17JD
United Kingdom

Sothy Khieng

Cambodia Development Resource Institute (CDRI) ( email )

56 Street 315
Phnom Penh
Cambodia

Chuong Chantha

Cambodia Development Resource Institute (CDRI) ( email )

56 Street 315
Phnom Penh
Cambodia

Tieng Muy

Cambodian Development Resource Institute ( email )

Phnom Penh
Cambodia

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