21st century learning and factors impacting on the integration of transformative English language learning into upper secondary schools in Cambodia.

  • Tithchanbunnamy Lor

    Student thesis: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - CDU

    Abstract

    Years of neglect and political turmoil have left Cambodia with diminished cultural capital as countless people responsible for the transmission of cultural and educational heritage were wiped out, all educational institutions were closed, and the traditional links between the different layers of the Cambodian society were broken. Today, Cambodia seeks to rebuild these connections and restore its capacity to participate in the regional and global economies as a valuable contributor. Some of the key hurdles in this objective, as identified by the World Bank, continue to be appropriate integration of education into the community, adequate resourcing, and equitable access to education services for all. The adoption of English as the working language of Southeast Asia has resulted in Cambodia issuing a directive for all primary and secondary students to learn English. While the directive is in step with the recent internationalisation policies of Cambodia, it is not clear what assumptions, needs and factors help advance or hinder its realisation. To identify those, the present study engaged the stakeholder community in perspective sharing, while also preserving the anonymity of the participants. The study focused on upper secondary schools in Cambodia as those schools prepare students for higher levels of learning, where knowledge of English is essential. Qualitative methods of inquiry were used. The study confirmed the concerns raised by the World Bank. The study findings point strongly to a lack of leadership from the English Language Teaching (ELT) research community. This leaves stakeholders at all levels of the system struggling and English language education compromising the transformative objectives of the new education policies and reverting to the traditional models of knowledge transmission. The study uncovered a broad range of gaps in the system that need attention, - especially from research, - relevant to the success of the country’s new ELT policies.
    Date of Award2021
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorAnia Lian (Supervisor)

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