The long journey of learning

Ly Regain / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
In Cambodian curriculum, students have to study for 12 years in primary and high school before getting into university. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Education is one of the most significant parts of one’s life. Everyone needs to be educated regardless of his or her social status or gender. Without education, there would be less to no progress – in personal, professional, social and economic aspects.

Our country, Cambodia, has seen great changes in its education over the decades. There have been remarkable developments in the curriculum implemented in public and private schools. For instance, the mandatory 12-year primary and secondary education system. Khmer students have to spend 12 years of formal learning in schools before becoming eligible to get into a university and take up a specific major degree programme.

This system – also implemented in many other countries – extends students learning and growth before entering college.

In Cambodia, we’ve seen the advantages of this system. We’ve noticed how students have become more knowledgeable in their academic lives and have become better learners. We’ve also seen higher scores in national exams for Grade 12 every year.

But even with these positive outcomes, we also can’t deny the fact that 12 years in primary and secondary education is considerably long and tedious for students.

I, personally, don’t fully agree with the system because of the long journey students have to take before getting themselves enrolled in a major they are passionate about. I feel like students are wasting some years of their lives studying general subjects that won’t really matter in their future careers. Math, Science, History, Geography and other subjects are essential – this I can’t negate. But not everyone is drawn to these subjects. Some of us want to pursue arts and focus solely on it. Some wants to study literature. We all have different passion and likes; but with the long education the passion we have somehow dies down over time.

This is not to say that the system is broken. I am grateful to be able to study and learn inside classrooms. I have learned so many things about the Earth, human beings, numbers, countries, history and many other things because of the patient teachers in my school. But I think life is too short to be stuck inside the four walls of the classroom instead of learning about the things that make your heart flutter.

The current curriculum, in my opinion, teaches us about those tedious but essential subjects but not really about what we want to learn – things that will help us live life in beautiful and creative ways.

I am fully aware of all the good things education has brought to my life and other Cambodians’ lives. If it weren’t for the books we’ve read and the lessons we’ve heard from our teachers, we would not be able to think critically and make sound decisions in life.

But I believe it’s also important to train the youth – the future of this kingdom – to go after what they love doing and learn all possible things about their passion in universities as early as possible, instead of learning the basics. We are bound to do great things, if only we’re allowed to explore our specific capabilities and talents early on, instead of focusing on subjects that would only take a backseat in our lives when we face the real professional world.

About the writer:
Ly Regain is a 15-year-old, Grade 11 student at Hun Sen Chompovvon High School. He loves to write and read on his free time.


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