The First Biennial Conference of CESCam on “Education for Shared Community and Prosperity” was hosted by CDRI in Siem Reap on 6–7 December 2019, with financial contributions from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trades (DFAT) through The Asia Foundation, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Special Fund through the Embassy of China in Cambodia and Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). It was attended by over 100 participants from 12 different countries, discussing a range of topics, such as curricular and pedagogical innovation, (global) citizenship education, globalisation and internationalisation of education, and vocational and technical education. This academic discourse has contributed significantly to theoretical and methodological perspectives in the development of comparative education as a field of study in Cambodia and beyond.
To further promote the debate among scholars, researchers, practitioners, and policymakers about the vital role of education in a rapidly changing world, largely driven by technological innovation and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, CESCam organised its Second Biennial Conference on the theme “Envisioning Education 2030: New Models of Education”, held on 14-15 October 2021. Given the COVID-19 pandemic situation in Cambodia at that time, CDRI co-hosted the conference with the Kirirom Institute of Technology (KIT) in hybrid format (physically at KIT campus and virtually via Zoom), supported financially by Australian DFAT through The Asia Foundation’s Ponlork Chomnes Initiative.
Despite the fact that COVID-19 has disrupted education for millions of children across the globe, including those in Cambodia, the pandemic also presents an opportunity for the country to re-imagine and re-designing to build back better, as the existing structure or status quo might become a shackle impeding innovative ideas, any attempt of reform, or creative destruction. But it is not just COVID-19 that has changed how we live, the ongoing so-called technological revolution accelerated by the pandemic has also created millions of new jobs, being unheard of before. Even so, industrial modernization is simultaneously causing massive structural unemployment and tragic loss of livelihood for low-skilled workers whose routine tasks are replaced by automation. In this regard, quality education to improve individual skills to work with or operate the machine can play a crucial role in the post-COVID-19 economic recovery and pave the way for sustainable development. It is within this context that CESCam is organizing the Third Biennial Conference on May 25 – 26, 2023, at the Cambodia University of Technology and Science (CamTech) highlighting the theme “De-schooling for Post-COVID19 Recovery” and with funding support from CamTech and the KMH Foundation.