Cambodia: "There is no development without education"

16 January 2023


Sivutha Onn, Director of Planning at the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport for the Kingdom of Cambodia

Sivutha Onn is the Director of Planning at the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport for the Kingdom of Cambodia. He reflects on this important day on the heels of a decade of cooperation between his country and IIEP-UNESCO. 

International Day of Education matters to me because each time we raise the profile of education as a driving force for development, more decision-makers understand the priority of education. When we think of the sort of society in which we wish to live, we can see a society where everyone is literate and numerate and where the opportunities created through education create innovation, development, and independent thinking. 

As an educational planner, I need to make sure that we continue to develop the quality of the education system and our plans need to also evolve so that all our children have opportunities to learn.

We need to plan that what students learn is relevant and allows them opportunities in the 21st-century world.

Our work for schools, teachers and educational management reform needs to take place over a sustainable and progressive model, looking at the long-term impact of education. We are improving our analysis of existing systems, using data and evidence to plan, and projecting long-term goals to be achieved in stages. When we look at developed education systems, we can see that education development takes time and many small steps; planning for a clear and consistent approach to education is key to achieving this. I also need to help ensure inclusive plans for education quality for everyone.

The world needs to invest in education because this is the only path toward sustainable development. All other priorities for development – the economy, healthcare, livelihoods, climate change action, etc. – depend on human resources. The world needs people who are educated to do new jobs, do them well, and with the necessary skills. 

There is no development without education, and education is the greatest force to reduce inequality.

Also, education is something that is passed down through the generations: educated children become educated parents, whose children surpass the learning of their parents, and so it continues through the generations.