Two Years in the Kingdom- Education in Cambodia

April 28, 2019

Hello All and thanks for following me. Today’s topic is Schools.

There are both private and public schools in Cambodia. I’ve got friends who teach in the international schools but they are mostly in the larger towns like Phnom Penh or Siem Reap and are expensive. The villages have public schools. This is the high school in my village. The educational structure in Cambodia is primary school which is grades 1-6 and secondary schools which is 7-12. Universities are located in the provincial towns and Phnom Penh. The school week goes from Monday through Saturday, however, the days are shorter.  As you can see from the pictures, the classrooms are very basic and don’t have electricity. These rooms can get punishingly hot during the heat of the day without fans so students leave around 10:00 in the morning then have afternoon classes that begin at 2:00. I live across the street from this school. My host father is a math teacher. The neighbor on one side teaches physics and the other neighbor teaches Khmer and I know several of the English teachers.

The students all wear uniforms. Female students wear long black skirts that extend below the knees and white blouses. It would not be considered proper for knees and shoulders to be exposed and should be covered when out in public. Male students wear long black pants and white shirts.

Also pictured here is a wooden structure with a corrugated metal roof. This would be considered the cafeteria where students are able to purchase breakfast, drinks and snacks here. The bathroom is the small yellow building. Without electricity there is no running water but a cistern that is filled for the hand washing station.

There is no formal sports or physical education classes. Diabetes is a leading cause of death in Cambodia and kidney disease, a complication of diabetes and hypertension, is reaching epidemic levels. Making matters worse is the fact that Cambodia only has 5 dialysis centers in the entire country and there is no such thing as health insurance to pay for it. Therefore, dialysis is not an option for most of the population even if they could afford it. Education is the key to addressing this health crisis in Cambodia. Peace Corps is actively trying to promote exercise and healthy living habits in the schools. I’ve been to other developing countries such as Haiti and Guyana that raise sugar cane as does Cambodia. Sources and the damaging effects of sugar are often misunderstood and when sugar cane is cheap and easily accessible the result is elevated incidence of deadly chronic disease.

Disclaimer: The content of this website is mine alone and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government, the Peace Corps, or the Cambodian Government.

This is a short description of one of my books called Azaleas Beyond the Prison Walls. This is my favorite book filled with twists and turns to keep the reader guessing.

It’s 1930 and Carson Jones is a prison guard at the notorious Eastern States Penitentiary in Philadelphia where some of America’s most violent inmates and gangsters are serving time. Amidst the desperation of the Depression and a crowd of hostile convicts, Carson finds solace in an azalea garden behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art and in helping an inmate he believes has been wrongfully accused of murder and sentenced to death. Carson’s life begins to take a turn when he meets a beautiful young woman through a coworker. Her father is a judge and agrees to help him, but at a price. Carson is forced to choose between a life of meaning and purpose and leaving his friend at the mercy of a threatening warden who is becoming increasingly more unhinged. Though the life he has always dreamed of is finally within reach, is it worth it? In a novel chock-full of history and suspense, James Rizzo crafts a suspenseful narrative full of real-life history and page-turning intrigue.

This is the book trailer for my novel Azaleas Beyond the Prison Walls. Book sales are increasing so I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all those that have supported me by purchasing my books. Although I’m no longer with Smart Cat Publishing, all my books are available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Links are on this website. Hope you will take a moment to listen and enjoy.






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