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Recovering from Runaway Privatization in Cambodian Higher Education: The Regulatory Pressure of ASEAN Integration

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Abstract

Since opening to the international community following the Paris Peace Accords in 1991, Cambodia has incrementally adopted a stance of political liberalization. Whether because of the exigencies of reconstruction and development or by intention, large tracts of the institutional domain have been delivered into the hands of development agencies, corporations, non-governmental organizations and other private entities. Higher education was no exception, witnessing runaway growth in private-sector capacity in a lax regulatory environment since the mid-1990s. Despite more recent regulatory assertiveness reflecting the government's enhanced capacity, the imminent processes of regional integration in ASEAN are again diminishing the Cambodian state’s autonomy and room to maneuver.
SOJOURN: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia Vol. 31, No. 2 (2016), pp. 648–83 DOI: 10.1355/sj31-2o
© 2016 ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute ISSN 0217-9520 print / ISSN 1793-2858 electronic
Notes & Comment
Recovering from Runaway Privatization in
Cambodian Higher Education: The Regulatory
Pressure of ASEAN Integration
Hart Nadav Feuer
Since opening to the international community following the Paris
Peace Accords in 1991, Cambodia has incrementally adopted a
stance of political liberalization. Whether because of the exigencies
of reconstruction and development or by intention, large tracts of the
institutional domain have been delivered into the hands of development
agencies, corporations, non-governmental organizations and other
private entities. Higher education was no exception, witnessing runaway
growth in private-sector capacity in a lax regulatory environment since
WKHPLGV'HVSLWHPRUHUHFHQWUHJXODWRU\DVVHUWLYHQHVVUHÀHFWLQJ
the government’s enhanced capacity, the imminent processes of regional
integration in ASEAN are again diminishing the Cambodian state’s
autonomy and room to maneuver.
Keywords: higher education, tertiary education, privatization, Cambodia, ASEAN, regional
integration, political liberalization, university standards.
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member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
(ASEAN) in Siem Reap, Cambodia,1GHOHJDWHVFRQ¿GHQWO\VSRNHRI
the impending transformation of higher education in the region. The
tone was upbeat as participants chronicled across-the-board growth
in educational capacity, numbers of institutions, student exchange
programmes and access to higher education in their respective
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... The association envisions strengthening higher education quality, particularly of the private HEIs, through the exchange of information and ideas, and promoting its members' interests. 6 As discussed earlier, a CHEA representative is often invited to higher education meetings organised by the DHE, ACC or the MoEYS and vice versa. Given that they are chaired and participated by quite infl uential individuals, they also have occasional access to and discussion with the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF). ...
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