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Language as Gatekeeper for Equitable Education: Multilingual Education in Cambodia


Multilingual education (MLE) is paramount in providing educational access and social equity to ethnolinguistic minority populations. This has been long recognized since UNESCO’s classic statement that it is “axiomatic” for children to learn in their own languages. Undertaking research in the Ratanak Kiri province of Cambodia, this book chapter aims to illuminate how MLE policy and practice have affected the Kreung-speaking Indigenous communities. The discussion in this chapter will be based on main findings from a study conducted in June/July 2015 that evaluated the state of MLE implementation in Cambodia. Data collection methods included report reading/analysis, informational meetings, individual interviews, group discussions, classroom observations, and some photographic recordings at the national, provincial, and local levels. Based on our analysis, we support current strategies and recommend further steps to strengthen the quality, improve the sustainability, and further expand the approach to MLE at the preschool and primary levels.

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