With governments across the world facing many challenges in the 21st century it is not surprising that in response they focus a lot of their attention and energy on schools and education policies.
In some countries, including the UK, education has increasingly become seen as a political item, meaning frequent changes and shifts in the educational direction of the country as different administrations take office. To some in the country there is too much meddling in schools by government (with constant changes and new initiatives); to others there is simply never enough in trying to help the existing system move forward. In a modern multicultural country like the UK, it’s a hugely complex task.
This article though is not about the delicate interchange between government, policymakers, practitioners and the public, all trying to decipher the best blend of responsibilities. No, there are certainly much more qualified and expert people than I to try and do that.
No, my observation, from spending time in Cambodia is simply to make a simple point, by stressing the fundamental importance that those involved in dealing with such complex issues can do so in a fair, open and transparent way.
Because according to Transparency International Cambodia remains the most corrupt country in Southeast Asia, being ranked 160th out of 177 across the world. Governmental bias is evident throughout the country with huge pictures promoting the work of the current administration (and adorning the most prominent sites) in all of the villages and towns. Alongside this, a number of people spoke to me in confidence about the corruption that, sadly, is still so ever-present in many aspects of their everyday lives including the school system…