Community Participation in Education: A Case Study in the Four Remote Primary Schools in Samlot District, Battambang Province, Cambodia
This study was conducted to investigate the nature of community participation in education in a remote district in Cambodia. A case study approach was used to explore the issue and employed mixed research methods for data collection. Epstein‘s participation and Bray‘s degree of community participation were used as analytical frameworks. The study contributes to a wide body of literature in participation in education, but which is under-researched for rural Cambodia. The study focussed on the forms and processes of participation by parents, community members and education stakeholders in primary schools in remote areas. The study discovered a range of social practices in community participation in education. The degrees of participation varied depending on the types of participation and the participants. Parents had direct participation in their children‘s learning at home, and indirect participation through resource contribution for school development. In addition, the community participated in education through their main representatives, the School Support Committees (SSCs). SSCs were found to possess power in the decision-making processes in school and education development. The most common type of participation was collaborative resource contribution for school development. This practice reflected the traditional culture of participation of Cambodian society but there was also a sign of behavioural change to focus more on children‘s learning. Teachers and School Support Committees were the drivers in bringing community and parents to participate in education. They were the facilitators, communicators, network connectors and mobilizers for school and education development. This case study suggests that a shift in focus (on the part of the government, non-governmental organizations and education stakeholders) to support parental involvement in children‘s learning, rather than the traditional resource mobilisation, may better promote children‘s learning. Further research on parental involvement in children‘s learning could be conducted.