Theses Master's

Rural Educational NGOs and Urban Aspirations: Lessons on Skill Planning in Cambodia

Chung, Clara Wun Yu

This thesis investigates how rural-urban inequality manifests in the decision-­making of a migrant. It revisits the structural role of education in facilitating rural-­urban migration – ‘the modern sector has also been characterized by an urban, industrial bias and a need for a new set of specialized occupational skills. Educational systems responded quickly to these modern sector needs, focusing curricula on modern-­sector educational requirements and strengthening urban schools more quickly than those in rural areas.’ (Edwards & Todaro 1974: 28). In particular, it focuses on whether and how a biased set of ‘specialized occupational skills’ are recognized in individual aspirations, as well as the implications of non-­state rural education within. While contemporary education often stress aspiration as an individualized exploration, this thesis re-­emphasizes it as a reflection of state preference. The findings originate from my work in a rural educational NGO in villages of Takeo, Cambodia. While migration has been widely studied in many other disciplines, the action-­oriented agenda and the emphasis on positioning rural educational NGOs make this a relevant planning issue. With household interviews as well as ethnographic observation and participation, I build narratives of individual aspirations from three villages in Takeo. Through comparing people's aspirations and capabilities to migrate, and understanding the local context of these villages, I make recommendations for development actors of an equity-­driven mind, state and non-state agencies, and researchers in current Cambodia.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Srinivas, Smita
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
June 13, 2013