Given growing evidence indicating correlation between children's learning issues and problems at home, this qualitative study aims to understand potential factors influencing learning difficulties in Cambodian primary education. In this way, the study informs ministries and decision makers to address the effect of the home environment on learning performance.
With a qualitative design, the sample size of this study included 21 students, 30 caregivers, 23 teachers, 4 school leaders, and 8 school officers from four areas and schools located in two Cambodian provinces—Battambang and Kampong Cham. The data were collected using in-depth interviews, a series of focus group discussions, and classroom observation. With responses from 46 interviews with the target groups, the findings were typically comprehensive.
Results from this study highlighted some psychological challenges as factors of learning difficulties among Cambodian children. These factors involved financial distress, family separation, domestic violence, child abuse, parental distress and disengagement, leading to academic failure or low performance at school. Generally, low school performance is related to multiple factors, including lack of parental involvement and low quality of teaching. Based on the study, parent-teacher collaboration is lacking at all four schools. Such a collaborative mechanism is crucial in addressing children’s learning difficulties. Whereas teachers were aware of learners’ learning difficulties, few teachers linked low learning performance and psychosocial challenges.
Recommendations include developing a tool to identify psychosocial challenges for school leaders and teachers to respond more effectively to children’s needs and to reinforce parent-teacher collaboration by including it in the school development plan.
Virak Uon, VVOB Camboda, Cambodia
Thearom Ret, Royal University of Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Vanna Op, Royal University of Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Thida Kim, Royal University of Phnom Penh, Cambodia