ERIC Number: ED419057
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1990-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Children of the Killing Fields: Cambodian Adolescents in New South Wales. Occasional Paper No. 19.
This study investigates the settlement of Cambodian adolescents in New South Wales (Australia). It looks at their participation in education and employment, the effects the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia had on those who lived through it, and the identity problems that usually occur in young people as a result of migration. According to the 1986 Australian Bureau of Statistics Census, there were 5,898 Cambodians in New South Wales, and over a quarter were adolescents. Historical events have had a great impact on the settlement process of Cambodian immigrant youth. For example, most Cambodians arrived in Australia without having any formal education in Cambodia, and only haphazard courses in refugee camps in Thailand. When Pol Pot was in power almost all types of formal education were abolished, meaning that the average Cambodian immigrant youth is illiterate or only semi-literate in Khmer, and not accustomed to the formal learning environment. In addition, they suffer many psychological and physical consequences of political unrest and the Pol Pot regime. Students who arrive at the elementary level have better chances to succeed in education, while those who arrive as secondary students often find schooling unrewarding and frustrating. Dropping out often results in limited opportunities for employment. The circumstances of adolescent Cambodian immigrants to Australia were studied through interviews with 30 adolescents. Their experiences emphasize the consequences of educational deprivation in Cambodia and the refugee camps they were in before they came to Australia. In Australia, few schools offer instruction in English as a second language, placing another barrier in the paths of these students. Many of their difficulties in learning English may be traceable to the lack of literacy in the mother tongue and the failure to acquire early literacy skills. (Contains 2 tables and 42 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Wollongong Univ., New South Wales (Australia). Centre for Multicultural Studies.
Identifiers - Location: Australia; Cambodia