VI-1. “Representations of Ideal Socialist Education in the Organ “Kampuchea” in the People’s Republic of Kampuchea” (H29 FY2017)

  • Project Leader : Senda Sayaka (Nagoya University, Graduate School of Education and Human Development)

Outline of Research

The purpose of this research is to examine how educational ideals reflected socialist ideology in articles published in “Kampuchea,” a state newspaper produced by the administration of the People’s Republic of Kampuchea (1979-1989). The predicament of the new government that followed the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia was unique among the Southeast Asia countries of the era in that it had to construct a new nation state. This research focuses on the education sector because it plays particularly important roles in nation building. I will examine what were considered to be ideal educational methods and what was considered an ideal socialist citizen of Kampuchea. For this purpose, I will investigate the archived issues of “Kampuchea” at the Library of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University.


The new government of the People’s Republic of Kampuchea established the nation state as socialist country like Vietnam, Burma, and Laos. However, Cambodia faced unique challenges in constructing a new nation out of ruinous conditions after Pol Pot’s regime. The education sector, although very important in developing new nations, faced particular challenges: due to Pol Pot’s regime, there was an acute shortage of teachers and educated people, and for years children had not been educated. This research explores how the new government tried to use the ideology of socialism in the development of the new nation. In addition to gathering information from articles in “Kampuchea,” I will conduct analysis on three levels: (1) international level, (2) national level, and (3) local level. From these three levels, I will identify the features of what the government considered to be ideal educational methods and educated citizens.

In 2014 I analyzed “Kampuchea,” focusing on articles about basic education in the first five years of the administration during the educational reconstruction stage. I found that the image of education achievements was an important indicator of national normalization from the chaos following Pol Pot’s regime. Based on these findings, I will now delve deeper into the articles, looking at the entire ten-year period of the People’s Republic of Kampuchea and investigating more specifically the relationship between education and the socialism ideal across the whole education spectrum.

Previous studies about education in Cambodia lack analysis of the significance of reconstructing the education system during the People’s Republic of Cambodia era. This research will gain insights into the socialisms of Southeast Asia, of which Cambodia presents a case study.


Lower secondary school in rural area

Primary school in local city

Education for ethnic minority in Vietnam (source) “Kampuchea” 2 September 1982

Students in a class of Kompong Som province (source) “Kampuchea” 1980 issue of 32