Improving Basic Education in Cambodia

Despite improvements in Cambodia’s education system – due largely to reforms and increased government spending since 2001 – significant challenges remain, in particular a lack of access and the low quality of basic education services.

These problems are felt most acutely in remote and rural areas, and by marginalised groups such as the poor, ethnic minorities, and girls. USAID’s Improved Basic Education in Cambodia Project was designed to address these issues of access and quality through an approach that emphasizes holistic programming, stakeholder-driven development, and improved educational relevance and management.

The strategic objective of this five-year project, which began in 2009 and ended in 2014, was to improve access, quality, and relevance of basic education in Cambodia. More specifically, the IBEC project aimed to increase lower secondary school enrolments, retention, and completion rates, providing Cambodia’s adolescent youth population with an opportunity to be better educated and lead productive lives.  The IBEC project targets selected schools in three provinces, Kampong Cham, Kratie and Siem Reap.

The development hypothesis underlying the IBEC project was that a more relevant curriculum, combined with better trained teachers and school managers would encourage more students to attend lower secondary school and to stay long enough to complete the lower secondary cycle.  The program sought to achieve this, through four inter-related components – Local NGO and Government Capacity Building & Advocacy for Sustainability; More Equitable School Access: Improved School Management and Community involvement and Improved Educational Relevance.

In 2014, as IBEC reached it’s end, USAID contracted EMC to undertake a performance evaluation of the project. The purpose of the evaluation was to assess the project’s accountability and extent to which it was able to meet its intended objectives. The evaluation also documented lessons learned and best practices, as well as providing recommendations to inform evidence-based future programming.

The final report is published online here.