Refashion Social Protection and the Gendered Impacts of COVID-19 in Cambodia

The COVID-19 pandemic is having significant repercussions on the global garment industry, of huge importance not only to Cambodia’s economy, but also to its one million workers, 80% of whom are women. Many garment factories have been affected with the effect that a sizable number of workers have been out of work or temporarily suspended. The Cambodia government has provided some formal support to help these women workers and their families cope during this pandemic period. However, securing income and sustaining livelihoods has become an urgent challenge for many workers.

Our research aims to better understand how women working in the garment industry in Cambodia are being affected by this disruption, what support is available to them, and how they are managing to cope through this challenging time.

The research is a collaborative effort between Cambodian and British researchers from CDRI, Royal Holloway University of London and University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom. The project policy partners in Cambodia include Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, Women’s Media Center, Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia, Better Factories Cambodia, and International Labour Organisation. It is an 18-month project supported by the UK government’s Global Challenges Research Fund and Newton Fund Agile Response to COVID-19.

The study focuses its policy attention on learning to ‘Build Back Better’ social protection to prevent and mitigate longer-term impacts of the pandemic and future risk events. The approach centres women’s representation in planning and decision-making as critical to ‘stitching back better’ just and resilient garment supply chains to make progress towards gender equality (SDG5), and inclusive economic growth and decent work (SDG8).

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Forced Adoption of Educational Technology during the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Case of Higher Learning Institutions in a Developing Economy

Research Problem and Objectives

It turns out that Cambodia has showed some sign of success in containing the COVID-19 pandemic which has spread to more than 200 countries and territories globally. Based on current available data, the outbreak seems to have been put under control following a series of actions taken by the government such as school closure and regional lockdown to mitigate human mobility and gathering and hence virus transmission. However, restriction of person-to-person contact also poses a serious challenge to educational system in which virtually every student had only accessed their education in conventional face-to-face classrooms. Since their level of general technological knowledge and readiness is limited, the students will find it a challenge to adapt to the sudden requirement for their participation in professional online teaching and learning in virtual classrooms.

This unprecedented disruption will undoubtably have a severe effect on student’s outcome since it has interrupted their learning process and human capital accumulation despite for a short period. Moreover, it is well-known that deprivation might cause depression but might also lead to innovation. The epidemic might as well present an opportunity for renovation or lead to forced adoption of new technologies which could have been resisted under normal circumstance. The diffusion and acceptance, in turn, can probably improve learning efficiency, but so far, neither the adoption nor its effect have been sufficiently addressed. From the economic point of view,
the COVID-19 Pandemic will not only have a major short-lived influence on individuals’ human capital development but also affect their labor market consequences in long-term. Therefore, the change of current students’ attitudes toward acceptance and adoption of new technology now, forced or not, can bear a momentous future, and thus it is worth an investigation.

Using research grants awarded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through the Asia Foundation and by the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Special Fund, CDRI is conducting a scientific research to understand current situation of teaching and learning of professor and college students and how the COVID-19 affects it and those involved. In particular, we ask three simple questions:

  • To what extent are higher learning institutions, faculty members, and students ready

to shift to online teaching and learning?

  • What are the determinants of technological readiness for online teaching and learning at post-secondary level?
  • Is there a significant disparity in the adoption and readiness between affected

cohorts who were living in different regions in Cambodia during the outbreak?

Policy Talk on “Teaching and Learning during COVID-19 Pandemic: School Responses and Student Experiences”

This policy talk centers around the responses to the pandemic taken by Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and educational establishments and student experiences with online learning.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cambodia closed all educational establishments on 16th March 2020. During this temporary school closures, all teaching and learning can only be done from distance or online. After a semester of school closure, it is time to revisit the impact of COVID-19 on teaching and learning and response efforts taken by all stakeholders involved. To what extent are schools and universities and students prepared to shift to the new mode of teaching and learning? How have schools and universities responded to the constraints posed by the pandemic? And what do we learn from the response efforts and student experiences with the new learning  environment?

The guest speakers in this talk include:

  • Dr. Bo Chankoulika, Head of Department of Policy, Directorate General for Policy and Planning, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport;
  • Mr. Hean Samboeun, Vice President, National Institute of Posts, Telecoms and ICT (NIPTICT);
  • Dr. Song Sopheak, Director of Center for Educational Research and Innovation, CDRI; and
  • Dr. Eng Netra, Research Director, CDRI, will be the moderator.

For more information click here