Prĕəh riəciənaacak kampuciə (The Kingdom of Cambodia) is located in southeast Asia and is bordered by Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and the Gulf of Thailand. Its population is 14,241,640 and the literacy rate is 73.6%. The national language is Khmer and French is often used in business. Ninety percent (90%) of Cambodians are Khmers who are descendants of the Angkor Wat empire that reigned over Southeast Asia from about the 10th to 13th centuries. Other large ethnic groups include Vietnamese (5%) and Chinese (1%).
Cambodia became a French protectorate in 1863 and, in 1887, became a colony of French Indochina. Cambodia was occupied by Japan during World War II, and then gained independence from France on November 9, 1953 when it became a constitutional monarchy under King Norodom Sihanouk.
In April 1975, the Communist Khmer Rouge captured Cambodia's capital, Phnôm Penh, and changed the country's name to Democratic Kampuchea. The Khmer Rouge evacuated and sent people to rural areas to work. During the Khmer Rouge regime, approximately 1-3 million people were killed.
Vietnam occupied Cambodia from 1978 to 1988. From 1989 to 1991, negotiations during the Paris Peace Accords resulted in mandates for a cease fire and democratic elections. These mandates were not respected by the Khmer Rouge, but by 1999, the remaining Khmer Rouge surrendered. Cambodia is now lead by King Norodom Sihamoni, the son of the former King Norodom Sihanouk.
During the Khmer Rouge regime, education almost eliminated and children were sent to work in the fields. Only political instruction was allowed. The educational system of Cambodia is in a period of re-building and is currently overseen by the ក្រសួងអប់រំយុវជននិងកីឡា. There are not enough teachers and schools to accommodate all school-age children.
Primary school is 6 years beginning at age 6.
Lower secondary school is 3 years and students receive a Diplôme at the end of the 3 years. Upper secondary school is 3 years and students are awarded a Baccalauréat upon completion. There is evidence of vocational programs at the secondary level.
There are numerous public and private post-secondary institutions in Cambodia. Admission to post-secondary institutions requires a baccalauréat and some institutions have their own entrance examinations.
The first year of university study is a common “Foundation Year.” Two to three-year diplôme programs are offered at universities and institutes of technology. Licence (licentiate) programs are 4 years.
Second and Third Cycles
There are some post-graduate programs: Master's programs are 2 years and Doctoral programs are at least 3 years and require a defense of a dissertation.
Teacher education for primary school teachers is offered at provincial teacher training colleges. It is a 2-year program which requires a baccalauréat for admission. Regional teacher training centers prepare lower secondary school teachers in a 2-year program that requires a baccalauréat for admission. These two programs previously required only completion of 8 years of primary and lower secondary school for admissions. Upper secondary school teachers must complete a 4-year program at the University of Phnôm Penh.