Bethany Goodrich here!
So at the beginning of this week, the group and I were privileged to attend an international development conference focused on The development of Cambodia. It was an incredible conference with presentations lead by students from Cambodia, South Korea, and the US. This conference gave me a better understanding of the way Cambodian’s believe development should be done and what they consider as the priority in the develoent process.
Many people have opinions on how something should be improved. This can include the way appliances are used and the way development should be done. It has always been my desire to aid a developing country. When desiring to assist the major points are communication and an end goal of self sufficiency.
Through discussion groups, Cambodians expressed their desire to see improvement in their education system. They believe that education is essential to developing their country. As of right now, teacher’s have a low salary, students have very limited access to libraries, and due to the short day of education, students are not likely to gain a secondary education. Since the school days are short, teachers are no. Able to cover all the material necessary for students to pass advancement tests. Thus, for an additional fee, the teachers offer tutoring for students so that they can pass these exams. As a result, students fail to receive higher education due to the expensive need for a tutor to pass exams.
Another key talking point at the conference was the need for FDI or foreign direct investments. Cambodia is a poor country and not able to sustain itself and therefore relies on FDI. There are some negative aspects though for developing this dependence on FDIs. Cambodian culture could be lost. As companies invest in land for factories, the government relocates people from their land and most do not receive just compensation. This was a major talking point for the law aspect of the conference. There is also the threat of losing invaluable natural resources if Cambodia makes adjustments to get more FDIs. Although investment is needed timeout development it could bE detrimental to the beautiful Cambodian culture.
I loved hearing passionate Cambodians voice their concerns and opinions about future development. They truly want the best for their people. Cambodia needs some modernization to successfully compete in the global economy. However, I hope Cambodia does not sacrifice its culture and resources for outside dependence.
Cambodia has a lot of passionate people and a very bright development future.