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Expat Exchange - Educational System in Cambodia
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Siem Reap, Cambodia


Educational System in Cambodia

By Joshua Wood, LPC

AGS Worldwide Movers
AGS Worldwide Movers

Summary: The one tip that you hear expats living in Cambodia repeatedly sharing with newcomers is not to buy a home when you first move to Cambodia. Rent for a few months or longer so that you have time to find the right neighborhood. Give yourself time to ensure that Cambodia is right for you for the long term. If you've already taken time to do those things and are ready to take the plunge and become a property owner, here are tips about buying a home in Cambodia.

Relocating to a new country can be a daunting experience, especially when it comes to understanding the local educational system for your children. This guide aims to provide expats with a comprehensive overview of the educational system in Cambodia. It covers the main stages of education, the process of enrolling your children in school, language requirements, the availability of bilingual schools, common types of private schools, the costs associated with private education, and the possibilities of homeschooling or online schooling.

What are the main stages of education in Cambodia?

The Cambodian educational system is divided into four main stages: pre-school, primary school, secondary school, and higher education. Each stage has a specific focus and caters to different age groups. The system is designed to provide a comprehensive education that equips students with the necessary skills and knowledge for their future careers.

Pre-school Education in Cambodia

Pre-school education in Cambodia is for children aged 3 to 5. It focuses on basic social interaction and learning through play. Although not compulsory, it is highly recommended as it prepares children for primary school.

Primary School Education in Cambodia

Primary school education in Cambodia is for children aged 6 to 11. It is compulsory and focuses on basic literacy, numeracy, and general knowledge. The curriculum includes subjects like Khmer, mathematics, science, social studies, and foreign languages.

Secondary School Education in Cambodia

Secondary school education in Cambodia is divided into two stages: lower secondary (ages 12-14) and upper secondary (ages 15-17). Lower secondary education focuses on a broad range of subjects, while upper secondary education offers more specialized courses in preparation for higher education or vocational training.

Higher Education in Cambodia

Higher education in Cambodia includes universities and vocational training institutions. It offers a wide range of courses in various fields, from humanities and social sciences to engineering and medicine.

How does a newcomer from a different country enroll their kids in school?

To enroll your child in a Cambodian school, you will need to provide a birth certificate, passport, and proof of residence. You may also need to provide previous school records. It's recommended to contact the school directly for specific enrollment procedures.

Can my children enroll in a public school if they are still learning Khmer?

Yes, children who are still learning Khmer can enroll in public schools. However, they may face language barriers as the medium of instruction in public schools is Khmer. Some schools offer additional language support for non-native speakers.

Are there public bilingual schools in Cambodia?

Yes, there are public bilingual schools in Cambodia. These schools offer instruction in both Khmer and a foreign language, usually English or French. Admission procedures vary, so it's best to contact the school directly for information.

What types of private schools are common in Cambodia?

Private schools in Cambodia include international schools, bilingual schools, and religious schools. International schools follow international curriculums and are popular among expats. Bilingual schools offer instruction in Khmer and a foreign language, while religious schools provide education based on specific religious principles.

Do expats typically send their children to public or private school?

Expats in Cambodia typically send their children to private schools, particularly international schools, due to the language of instruction and the quality of education.

How expensive are Private schools in Cambodia?

The cost of private schools in Cambodia varies greatly, depending on the school and the level of education. International schools are generally the most expensive, with annual fees ranging from $5,000 to $20,000.

Are you allowed to homeschool while living in Cambodia?

Yes, homeschooling is allowed in Cambodia. However, it's important to ensure that the homeschooling curriculum meets the educational standards set by the Cambodian Ministry of Education.

May kids attend online school instead of a local school while living in Cambodia?

Yes, children can attend online schools while living in Cambodia. This can be a good option for families who prefer a flexible learning schedule or a specific curriculum not offered in local schools. However, it's important to ensure that the online school is accredited and recognized by the Cambodian Ministry of Education.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


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Siem Reap, Cambodia

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