Implementation of the Common ASEAN Tourism Curriculum and its Effects on Cambodian Hospitality Training Programmes
The Common ASEAN Tourism Curriculum (CATC) was developed as an essential mechanism to facilitate the inter-governmental tourism collaboration amongst ASEAN members. In Cambodia, the implementation of CATC has been promoted as one of the key priorities in tourism human resource development. So far, two non-governmental hospitality schools have fully adopted CATC into their curricula. However, the implementation of this curriculum within existing training programmes is considered as curriculum change which requires an in-depth understanding of the phenomenon. Therefore, this research explores the implementation of CATC and its effects on Cambodia’s hospitality training, focusing on food and beverage service training.
Qualitative research methodology was employed in this study by using a case study method. Six in-depth interviews, observation and documentary analysis were used to collect primary data. To analyse the collected data, thematic analysis was used to categorise data into emergent themes and draw relationships among them.
The study found that CATC implementation was a top-down approach in which globalisation, political and economic factors were the driving forces. The Ministry of Tourism (MoT) acted as a change agent which introduced a new curriculum to hospitality training schools. The MoT also adopted a coordination and facilitation role by providing political and technical assistance in the implementation processes. At national level, CATC was localised in response to tourism development policy, industry demands and the well-being of local people. At school and classroom level, the curriculum was enacted to align with organisational contextual factors, including financial resource, staff and students.
Overall, CATC implementation has contributed to the tourism human resource development effort in Cambodia. At macro level, it has an ability to enhance and standardise tourism and hospitality training systems. At the individual level, CATC implementation has encouraged lifelong learning, improved learning quality, and promoted career and educational advancement of hospitality workers. However, barriers and negative consequences have also occurred in the implementation process. At both levels, internal and external barriers contributed to implementation difficulties in attaining its goal. Negative consequences from this implementation found that change in curriculum at school and classroom level also brought a major alteration in organisational structure, operational costs, staff beliefs and responsibility, and students’ learning outcomes. Solutions strategies have been used by those who implement CATC to address specific implementation challenges and consequences. Not only does the study add to what is known in relation to the role of government in tourism human resource development and the benefits of new curriculum implementation, but it also provides vigorous evidence for government and practitioners to understand challenges and negative consequences from the implementation of a multi-national tourism curriculum in the Cambodia’s vocational training programmes.