Cambodian Higher Education Governance: The Politics of Global Summitry and Clientelism
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This chapter uses the concepts of “global summitry” and “clientelism” to theorize higher education governance in Cambodia. After reviewing the history of higher education since the 1960s, the chapter analyzes the country’s experiences amid regional attempts to harmonize standards, degree structures, quality assurance systems, and credit systems in Southeast Asia. Rather than explicit intervention into Cambodia’s higher education sector as has been historically common, the contemporary order transmits policy and governance practices through various regional and international forums, creating a seemingly homogenous system of higher education. External influence through global summitry, however, must be paired with a recognition of the prevalence of clientelism. By exploring the case of the Accreditation Council of Cambodia, higher education governance is shown to reproduce the engrained system of clientelism, empowering elites and contributing further to systems of informal patronage. The chapter concludes with recent (up to April 2016) developments in higher education governance, offering some observations and obstacles for future development in the sector.
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