Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Morning commute

I took these photos last Friday of my morning commute, it's just taken me a little while to get them up here. Things have been busy around here lately. Friday we met with two men from the Asian Development Bank who have been instrumental in the creation of the draft Law on Education. I'll discuss this with anyone interested after I return home, as not all of the things I have to say are terribly complementary and it wouldn't be nice to post them online. I will say that the Cambodian representative was extremely competent and was able to clearly articulate the pros and cons of compulsory education (which I'd already researched and included in my memo, so nothing new there), and he finally agreed that if we could find a way to get our suggested changes to the Commission of the National Assembly that would be looking at the draft, ADB would support having a debate about the issue.
Yesterday I attended a workshop on Education for Sustainable Development at the Senate. It was primarily for Senate and National Assembly members and was hosted by UNESCO. Kind of interesting, but much less about education than it was about sustainable development. The UNESCO reps spoke very broadly about what the goals of education for sustainable development are, and then there were speakers from the Ministry of the Environment and some Senate members. The highlight was really the coffee/tea breaks. One productive thing did come out of the workshop; we spoke to the head of some organization here (can't tell what Doris is calling it, will have to have her spell it out for me) and he was very interested in the issue and agreed to give our memo (Doris condensed it, but yep, my work) to the leaders of each of the political parties and then organize this meeting tomorrow with people from the Ministry of Ed., and all key players in the issue, to see if we can get a debate going about compulsory education. It's pretty exciting. To tell you the truth, I understand the government's argument (according to the ADB guy) that they shouldn't put something into a law that there's no way they can enforce. But on the other hand, compulsory education is mentioned as a goal in every other Cambodian plan and document on education, so not putting it in the law would be a step back. Okay, enough about all that.
Regarding the pictures....most of obviously of the drive to work. The tower looking deal with the clock in front is Wat Phnom, a Buddhist temple. There's an elephant there, as well as monkeys, that I get to see on my way to work every morning. Then a picture of my driver (he lives near me I think). He's a cool guy, man of few words. He speaks Khmer to me and I speak English and somehow we get things worked out. Then we've got some monks walking down the street (extremely common). And then there's Doris, Savady, Vanny, and me (the legal team) in front of the Ministry of Women's Affairs sign.

No comments: