Factors impacting on school retention rates of lower secondary school female students in rural Cambodia and ways forward
: a case study

  • Tithchanbunnamy Lor

    Student thesis: Masters by Research - CDU


    This study is concerned with the high rates of school attrition among adolescent girls in rural regions of Cambodia and with the effectiveness of national and international programmes that have thus far been undertaken in order to ameliorate this problem. The research sought to investigate the impact that these programs have had on the dispositions and attitudes to education of female students in a rural school in Cambodia as reflected through the perspectives they offer on their own context. In order to elicit these beliefs, the study looked for the differences between the participants’ perspectives and the key factors that research and government reports traditionally identified as limiting educational opportunities of female students.

    This is a mixed methods study. Qualitative and quantitative data was analysed using quantitative procedures. Questionnaire was chosen as a method of data collection. The questions were informed by studies which examined the impact of different factors on the retention of female students’ enrolments. The participants included 206 female students from a lower secondary school in Pursat province, Cambodia. Overall, the findings show that participants value education despite its many challenges.

    Still, not all students felt that they could pursue their education, predominantly due to financial pressures. Drawing on theories of Freire (1973, 1990) and Gadotti (2010), the study interpreted its research findings in relation to frameworks which concern themselves with power as a factor of one’s engagement. It concludes with a framework proposed to assist the government in developing capacity-building programs which support change by building community social capital through strategies which focus less on problems and more on the mechanisms by which communities can negotiate, envisage and address the needs and resources that are appropriate for their well-being and sustainable futures. Girls’ education can only benefit from such a reflective, critical and constructive process.
    Date of Award2016
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorAnia Lian (Supervisor) & Paul Black (Supervisor)

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