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Human Resource Development Reality Of And How To Improve The Situation Of The Low Literacy Rate In Cambodia Educational policy-makers planners administrators and practitioners have long held the opinion that the literacy is a prerequisite for individual as well as the society The world data on life expectancy infant mortality and gross national product GNP bear this out This paper is aiming at addressing reality of and recommending on how to improve the situation of the low literacy rate in Cambodia Historical Background After 30 years of war and civil unrest which decimated Cambodian population and destroyed the countrys infrastructure including the education system the Cambodia has low levels of literacy and high levels of poverty With a GNP of only US 285 per person Cambodia is one of the least developed countries in the region It is estimated that 38 percent of the countrys households live under the poverty line According to the 1999 Human Development Report put out by the United Nations Development Program UNDP Cambodia ranks 137 out of 174 countries in terms of its human development Cambodians on average only attend school for three and half years Government budgets for education are significantly lower in Cambodia than in other countries The government allocates only nine percent of the national budget for education while other countries in the Association of South East Asian Nations ASEAN spend 15 to 25 percent The government intends to increase the budget for education to 15 percent in 2000 but this is still lower than the 1960s level of 23 percent That is also far lower than the military spending in Cambodia as high as 45 percent Although a number of small-scale literacy programs have been implemented in recent years with considerable success improving the literacy rate between 1994 and 1998 the absolute number of adult illiterates has remained constant It is also believed that many neo-literates relapse into semi-literacy or illiteracy The
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