105th International Women’s Day Celebration

On March 7th, 2016, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) organized the 105th International Women’s Day Celebration under the theme, “Invest on Gender Equality for Sustainable Development.” The University of Cambodia was represented by Ms. Por Malis, Vice President of Operations, Ms. Toptosseda Uk, Director of the Office of the President, and Ms. Kong Rathana, Director of the Offiice of the Registrar. The event was presided over by H.E. Hang Chuon Naron, Minister of Education, Youth and Sport and his wife.

H.E. Ms. Khun Rachana, Under Secretary of State for MOEYS and a Member of the MOEYS’ Gender Committee, reported the situation of women in MOEYS for 2015-2016, and highlighted the key achievements on gender-related issues in the education sector. It’s interesting to notice that women working in the education sector make up about 44% of the total number of 115,305 staff; at the national level, women comprise more than 27% of 3,051 staff, and at the sub-national level, women account for nearly 44% out of the 112,254 total workers. The percentage of girl students’ enrollment at the kindergarten level (for the 2015-2016 school year) is 51%, and about 48% of girl students enroll at the primary level. At the secondary level, the number of girl students increases to nearly 53% of 586,856 total students, and 82.1% of them have been moved to the upper secondary level, in which female students consist of up to 85% of the total number of students.

From a total of 46 public universities and 72 private universities from 19 municipalities/provinces, the number of female students is 49.05% of 24,970 students doing their Associate’s Degree; 45.99% female students out of 182,987 students pursuing Undergraduate Degrees; and 35.31% of female students out of 19,428 total students working towards Graduate Degrees. However, only 5.19% of female students out of 1,175 students are studying for their Doctoral Degrees.

Ms. Debora Comini, UNICEF Representative, remarked, “The graduation rate for primary school is 89% for girls, while it is 85% for boys, and the rate is also higher for girls at the secondary level. In keeping with global trends - girls are systematically outperforming boys in national assessments and exams. Nevertheless, access to universities remains strongly skewed in favor of boys, and this is an urgent issue to be addressed. In addition, access to positions at the district, provincial and national level in MoEYS remains constrained for women. This is also reflected in the broader labor market.”

H.E. Hang Chuon Naron, Minister of Education, Youth and Sport addressed five key areas in his speech, including:

  1. Improving education for girls including strengthening the infrastructure and increasing the number of secondary schools, especially in the communes/Sangkats that have increasing populations.
  2. Ensuring that girl students are attending school regularly, and that they are able to continue their studies from the primary level to the secondary level and above.
  3. Encouraging girl students to major in science, technology and mathematics (STEM) through education-oriented programs and providing assistance to girl students throughout the secondary level and above.
  4. Providing education on sexual rights and reproductive rights in all schools, and adequately discussing gender relations, sexual protection, and pregnancy prevention.
  5. Increasing the quality of education through ongoing teachers’ training, and ensuring that teachers receive livable wages.

Eight universities were invited by MOEYS to display photos of each female in the management level, as well as women staffs’ activities in the work place, during the ceremony. The University of Cambodia was among one of the eight universities that received that honor, and was able to showcase our wonderful women managers and staff. Before the event finished, H.E. Hang Chuon Naron led the participants to visit and admire the photo exhibition of all eight honored universities.

By: Ms. Toptosseda Uk, Director for the Office of the President


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