U.S. Government Assistance to Education

EducationUSA Fair in Siem Reap on June 13, 2017
EducationUSA Fair in Siem Reap on June 13, 2017


  • USAID/Cambodia resumed its assistance in the education sector in Cambodia through a Bilateral Grant Agreement with the Royal Government of Cambodia in 2003. Assistance to date in the education sector totals $31 million.
  • USAID’s goal in education is to improve quality, access and relevance of basic education with a focus on improving early grade reading outcomes at scale.
  • USAID’s new All Children Reading program will support the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS) to develop a harmonized and coherent national Early Grade Reading program. The 5-year, $11 million program (2017-2021) improves the reading skills of children in grades 1-3 based on rigorous (evidence-based) approaches that are inclusive, feasible and practical in Cambodia, and can be taken to national scale.
  • USAID has named Cambodia a priority country under the Action Plan for Children in Adversity, with a focus on putting family care first and promoting evidence-based policies and programs.
  • USAID’s goal is to increase the number of children thriving in family-based care that is safe and nurturing and reduce violence in against children in Cambodia.
  • USAID supports the Family Care First initiative, UNICEF, and the Partnership Program for Child Protection (3PC) with a $11 million dollar project (2009-2018) to strengthen child protection systems in Cambodia with the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY).

U.S. Peace Corps

  • Peace Corps opened its office for the first time in Cambodia in 2006. Since 2007, over 330 Peace Corps Volunteers have worked in the education sector at the request of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport. Peace Corps volunteers teach English at secondary schools and at teacher training colleges. In 2009, Peace Corps expanded its assistance to support health services by working at referral hospitals and health centers. Currently, there are 48 volunteers teaching at local high schools and a few volunteers teaching at teacher training colleges throughout the country. Besides working on their primary projects in the classroom, volunteers conduct hundreds of hours of education-related secondary projects. For example, they conduct leadership workshops, camps, and clubs for young people, develop libraries on school grounds, and they education community members about issues related to environment, gardening, and nutrition. There are also 52 community health education volunteers currently in Cambodia. These volunteers teach community members about maternal and child health, improved nutrition, and basic water and sanitation interventions to improve basic health practices among rural populations.

U.S. Department of Defense

The Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC) efforts in the area of education largely focus on building better English capabilities within the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF). The more proficient RCAF becomes in English, the better the communication, mutual understanding, and potential for cooperation between the U.S. military and the RCAF becomes. To serve these ends ODC is currently in partnership with Cambodia’s National Defense University to provide greater English language training to RCAF through the purchase of interactive audio and multimedia English language labs and instructional materials, and training English language instructors from within the ranks of RCAF by sending them to a course designed specifically for this purpose, the Basic American Language Instructor Course.

  • EDUCATION OPPORTUNITIES: When suitable candidates with sufficient English proficiency are developed or found within RCAF, ODC can make a variety of U.S.-sponsored training and education opportunities available to them. These include long-term courses like the Army War College or the Command and General Staff College which provide up to a year of immersion in an academic environment focused on military studies.
  • SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION: ODC is the office through which the U.S. Department of Defense provides support for humanitarian assistance. In support of education, ODC oversees programs that result in the U.S.-funded construction or renovation of Cambodian schools. On a smaller scale, ODC also provides bathroom facilities for existing schools, which improves sanitation and specifically aims at lowering dropout rates among female students, particularly adolescents, who may be more likely to stay in school if private, sanitary bathrooms are available.
  • U.S. SERVICE ACADEMIES: ODC makes U.S. service academy opportunities available to Cambodian students. ODC publicizes these opportunities and their respective academic requirements to assist qualified Cambodian candidates in competing for entry into the U.S. Military Academy (West Point), U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, and U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. The first Cambodian just graduated from the Naval Academy this summer, and two Cambodian midshipmen are currently studying at the Naval Academy.

U.S. Department of State

  • Through its education, cultural, and professional exchange programs – including Fulbright, Hubert Humphrey Fellowship, International Visitor Leadership Program, Teaching Excellence and Achievement, and the English Access Micro-scholarship Program – the U.S. Department of State provides approximately 200 scholarships annually to Cambodian students, teachers, and professionals for English language education or study opportunities in the United States. These grantees return to Cambodia to take on leadership roles in support of Cambodia’s development goals or use their new knowledge to help them further their educations and better their communities. The U.S. Embassy also provides a variety of educational resources in Cambodia, including sponsoring U.S. professors to teach at Cambodian universities through the Fulbright Scholar and Specialist Program, providing access to resources and American Corners and the Information Resource Center, and supporting English language teaching and curriculum development through fellows, specialists and support for CamTESOL.