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Islamic Schools and Universities in Cambodia

Cambodia was initially a Hindu adherent nation. Over time and cultural advancement, this was replaced by Buddhism. Various forms of this religion have been practiced with society naturally succeeding the forms that appealed to them. Islam in Cambodia is just emerging after the persecution form the Khmer rouge regime. Current statistics indicate that there are just slightly above a quarter million Muslims and most of these are the Cham from Khmer island and the Malay minority. Despite this small number, Cambodian Muslims have tried to play their role in society by providing some of the required social infrastructure.

Much of this contribution has been directed to the province of Cham which is predominantly Muslim. Past regimes have always marginalised the Cham people in as far as access to education is concerned. In cases where educational infrastructure was provided, little regard was given to the cultural development of this minority population. In as much as these regimes appreciated the education system not fully addressing the developmental needs of this community, not much was done to change the status. Islamic schools were established therefore to provide the children with an avenue of learning the traditions of Islam, language and culture.

Zaman University located in ToulKork, Phnom Penh is the only recognised Islamic institution of higher learning. It positions itself to provide quality education in an educational environment where only the best will suffice. The university has an Islamic backing but has structured all its courses to reflect the social and economic realities of Cambodia. It strives to provide high quality affordable degree courses in an environment that promotes student learning and academic success.

Islamic schools in Cambodia as it is provide a complementary role to what the public schools play. They provide a place where Muslim minority can learn about the culture, knowledge and traditions of the religion besides the information they get from the public schoools. Their importance can never be overstated and their role can only be replaced by a fully reformed educational system that will have structures to take care of the needs of minorities.

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