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International research shows that children who face problems at home have difficulties concentrating in school, affecting their school performance. Based on qualitative interviews with 86 students, parents/caregivers, and school officers in Battambang and Kampong Cham province, this study aims to gain a better understanding of the challenges primary school learners in Cambodia face at home and how those affect their school performance, if at all. Results show that learners face severe psychosocial challenges, such as financial distress, family separation, domestic violence, and/or child abuse. In result, they fail to concentrate at school, affecting their academic performance. More generally, low school performance is related to a lack of parental involvement and to the overall low quality of teaching.


  • Kim Thida (Louvain Cooperation)
  • Miranda de Gruiter (VVOB – education for development)
  • Line Kuppens (VVOB – education for development)

This research was supported by the Belgian Development Cooperation through VVOB – education for development and the University NGO Louvain Cooperation.