Posted on 27 August 2009
The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 627
The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 627
“Phnom Penh: Officials said that the economic crisis can block the development of Cambodia, especially it affects the alleviation of child labor and increases obstacles for children to receive education.
“The deputy secretary-general of the Supreme National Economic Council, Mr. Ruos Selva, said during a national consultative workshop on the impact of the global economic crisis on education and child labor in Cambodia on 25 August 2009, that the global economic crisis made the country’s economic growth rate decline to 6.7% in 2008 and to 2.1% in 2009, posing many challenging problems for Cambodia.
“Mr. Ruos Selva added that the economic downturn increases the number of poor people and makes the Millennium Development Goals for Cambodia to get side-tracked – being replaced by people who lost their jobs, which means also having lost other income for the family, which results in a shortage of finance for health, for education, and for social wellfare programs.
“A secretary of state of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Mr. Chey Chab, recognized the decline in the national income and in economic activities; while the goal for the progress of the country remains unchanged, the efforts to reduce child labor, and to remove obstacles for children to receive education, continue.
“In Cambodia, poverty is still a major problem, keeping students out of school. According to education experts, Khmer parents hold the opinion that their children can go to school only if they do not have financial problems. But there are financial problems, many poor families face the situation that the breadwinners do not have jobs or have only insufficient jobs. Because the income is not stable, families have to struggle to feed their children, making the expenses for traveling to school, for school clothes, and for other materials, to be their last priority.
“If the extent of the impact of the economic crisis is not adrressed and reduced, many children will have to leave the education system. Moreover, it will also reduce the quality of the teaching in classroom to become poorer.
“The head of the technical advisors of the international program of the International Labor Organization, Mr. M. P. Joseph, said that regarding the present economic crisis in Cambodian, the encouragement to send children to school, and to keep children to continue learning, is still very strong in this country. Maybe it is because in this modern era, it is thought that children without education are a liability.
“Also, the global economic crisis affects child labor in Cambodia. According to child labor experts, child labor has increased both in cities and rural areas. In populated areas, many children have to beg, some work as scavengers, and some work as house servants, even though they are under the age to do such jobs. In rural areas, agricultural labor at home becomes general for children. Other serious forms of child labor are carrying and selling souvenirs at touristic sites.
“In serious cases of child labor, children are forced to become prostitutes, to sell drugs, and to do other illegal activities. Also, the present difficult time of the economy can crate barrier against two defined goals of the Royal Government: First, to abolish the worst forms of child labor by 2016, and secondly, to reduce child labor of all forms to only 8% by 2015.
“A secretary of state of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, Ms. Prak Chantha, said that due to the economic crisis, child labor and education become worrying problems, and there should be discussions about the extent of the impact, and special attention to children, because they are ‘the young bamboos to replace the old bamboos,’ and the Constitution states also the fundamental rights of children.
“Mr. Chey Chap went on to say that it is the proper time for all relevant sides to cooperate on children’s education and on the reduction of child labor, in order to jointly assess the impact of the economic crisis on education and on labor, to establish policies for the present and for future problems of each sector, and to create immediate responses to solve the challenging problems of children.”
Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2032, 26.8.2009
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Wednesday, 26 August 2009