Public Genocide Education Forum
The public education forum and textbook distribution began operating in August 2010. The objectives of the forum are to provide education on the Khmer Rouge (KR) history to various Cambodian communities, specifically focusing on people who live in remote areas and have little access to textbooks and publications related to the KR history. The villagers, who are both victims and perpetrators, have the opportunity to create a dialogue and collaborate with teachers in educating their children about what happened during the KR period, as well as to convey the importance of genocide education. The forum encourages the villagers to speak out and share experiences with their children. Teachers are encouraged to use the experiences of the villagers as a resource to educate youth about the history of the KR. In addition, the discussion and personal accounts are supplemented with the textbook, A History of Democratic Kampuchea (1975-1979). The textbook gives a comprehensive explanation of what occurred during the KR regime, and it provides a valuable stimulus for not only greater dialogue, but greater interest in learning more about the history of the DK period. The forum is intended to complement DC-Cam’s support for formal education about KR history in Cambodian classrooms nationwide. The forum also aims to link textbook material to the particular stories of each community—allowing teachers and students to make the best use of their own resources and encourage the villagers to participate with teachers in educating the younger generations about DK.
The forum does not aim to train the villagers to be teachers for their children in a pedagogical sense, rather the goal is to increase community awareness on the larger historical context as well generate a discussion on personal experiences. The forum discussions will be led by three local history teachers who have participated in teacher training sessions on DK history, with the assistance of DC-Cam staff. The forums will provide these teachers with the opportunity to practice the skills, knowledge, and methodology they obtained from the training and increase their overall teaching confidence.