Cambodian Youth Perspectives on Social and Educational Barriers

An exploratory case study in a rural border region


  • Jeremy Tost Colorado Mesa University
  • Bob Spires University of Richmond
  • Sokleng In Love Without Boundaries in Poipet, Cambodia



Cambodia, education, youth, poverty, development


This case study examines these barriers using a questionnaire assessing the youth’s attitudes toward education (n = 50). Results indicated that poverty and the pressure to migrate for work remain significant barriers to educational attainment, despite the perceived benefits of education by youth and encouragement by families. Results revealed that inter-educational issues occur despite unclear prevalence, including negative pressures, physical and verbal abuse of students by teachers, teachers charging students fees, and government schools being comparatively less safe and encouraging than home and a local NGO school. These findings can be used to better tailor development aid targeting educational measures, particularly encouraging a shift from convincing rural Cambodians to value education to targeting the contextual barriers that exist. 


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Author Biographies

Jeremy Tost, Colorado Mesa University

Jeremy Tost, PhD, is a Professor of Psychology at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, Colorado, USA. His research interests lie in the area of social/cognitive psychology with an applied emphasis. Email:

Bob Spires, University of Richmond

Bob Spires, PhD., is a professor of Graduate Education at the University of Richmond in Richmond, Virginia. His research interests include non-formal education in Southeast Asia. Email:

Sokleng In, Love Without Boundaries in Poipet, Cambodia

Sokleng In is the Country Director of Love Without Boundaries in Poipet, Cambodia. His work includes providing education, medical care, nutrition, and foster care for children in Western Cambodia. Email:  


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How to Cite

Tost, J., Spires, B., & In, S. (2019). Cambodian Youth Perspectives on Social and Educational Barriers: An exploratory case study in a rural border region. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Education, 8(2), 130–146.