I found the following English newspaper particularly helpful: The Cambodia Daily and the Phnom Penh Post , which publishes biweekly. Recently, I found a number of articles that I found to be insightful with regard to cultural diversity.
Susan Font writes in an Phnom Penh Post (June 20 – July 3, page 6) article titled ‘Roll Call to teach nation’s youth’ about the government’s Education For All (EFA) program. One of the first paragraphs illuminates the relationship to current government strategy: “The twelve-year plan, which was launched on June 10, supports the government’s main poverty alleviation strategies: the Poverty Reduction Strategic Plan (PRSP) and the second Socio-Economic Development Plan (SEDPII). These two focus on the importance of completing nine years of basic education, reducing costs, and encouraging disadvantaged groups such as females and ethnic minorities.”
The author goes into more detail of the EFA strategy and mentions that “a national scholarship system for girls will be introduced, and ethnic minorities will have culturally-tailored curricula which aim to preserve their local knowledge and make education relevant to their culture”.
This appears to be a honorable endeavor and sounds very progressive to me. Particularly given the common hostile attitude against particular minorities. However I will try to get hold of somebody who is designing this policy to learn how they do this. This is especially interesting because their does not seem to be much knowledge even about what language those people actually speak. The formulation that the program aims at ‘making education relevant to their culture’ is odd and would not be out of context with aggressively assimilation policies.
In the same issue of the same newspaper Michael Coren writes in an essay titled “What’s in a word? More to yuon than sour soup” about the widespread use of the term yuon even among top politicians. This term apparently refers to sour soup as well as to Vietnamese people. It has several notions but is apparently meant and felt like a racist insult in most contexts.