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Higher Education

No Signature Anymore, Ministry of Education, Cambodia

Prime Minister Hun Sen just announced recently at Koh Pech that no longer allows “Minister” of Ministry of Education signs any higher education diploma anymore, the rector of each University will handle the signation in order to control and responsible the quality of education himself.

This move for me could be marked as one of the history in education system in Cambodia since the new Kingdom after Khmer rough regime. Of course, it’s hard to comment but I feel it’s too fast decision, unclear road map and difficult to make public opinion to accept and trust on some universities without quality control.

Anyway, it’s happening.

How do you think?

Kingdom lacks education as economic ties approach

By Phnom Penh Post, 19 April 2013

Almost every day, Pet Rath journeys from his home in Battambang province’s Sampov Loun district across the border to study Thai about two kilometres inside Cambodia’s western neighbour.

Students from the Royal University of Phnom Penh attend a graduation ceremony. A UN report has highlighted concerns over Cambodian graduates’ place in ASEAN. Photograph: Sovan Philong/Phnom Penh Post
Students from the Royal University of Phnom Penh attend a graduation ceremony. A UN report has highlighted concerns over Cambodian graduates’ place in ASEAN. Photograph: Sovan Philong/Phnom Penh Post

The facilities and standards at the school he attends part-time over the border in Khlong Hat district, Sa Kaeo province, have always surprised him.

“The development of the education system in Thailand seems miles away from what we have in the school in our home district,” he said.

“The schoolyard [in Thailand] is wider than the ones in my home district. Students wear appropriate uniforms and better obey the school’s rules. Teachers and students can reach school by travelling on modern roads.”

The vast gap between the educations afforded to students in Thailand and Cambodia is representative of a broader problem facing the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as its 10 member states seek to integrate their economies by 2015.

Namely, how can member countries that have just begun to develop their education systems hope to compete with individuals from far more developed ASEAN states armed with a vastly superior education in an integrated regional economy?

It’s a dilemma that has pricked the concern of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), which yesterday highlighted this problem in the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific, released yesterday by ESCAP.

The wide socio-economic gap remaining between more developed members and less developed members – namely Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam – is a major concern, the report says.

“The literacy rate in Cambodia remains low, at around 75 per cent, compared to the other ASEAN members’ 90 to 95 per cent [except for Laos],” the survey found. “Public spending on education is also relatively low at around three per cent of [the gross domestic product].

“Such a gap could have a negative impact not only on the economic integration of ASEAN but also on its social and cultural harmonisation.” The report goes on to say that education will also be an important factor in determining labour productivity.

While Cambodia prepares for the launch of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015, which will facilitate the free flow of goods and labour among its 10 countries, improving labour productivity and competitiveness in a regionalised economy is crucial for Cambodia, analysts and experts said.

Dr Vong Sam Ang, general manager of SOMA Consulting Service, told the Post yesterday that Cambodia will face tough competition when the ASEAN economic community opens its doors, as the quality of employees in white-collar positions such as accounting and banking is limited compared with regional competitors.

“The educational systems in more developed members of the ASEAN and the commitment of their students are on a higher level than ours,” he said. “Instead of hiring a Cambodian middle manager or general manager, a chief executive officer might choose to import staff from more developed countries whose quality is much better.”

However, Sam Ang also said he sees enormous potential in the Kingdom’s large young labour force, many of whom are low-cost workers.

“The ASEAN economic community could entice more investors to open up businesses in our country, and graduated students who leave school with good skills could also see broadened opportunities by the ASEAN economic community’s launch,” he said.

“In order for [less developed] countries to fully benefit from the ASEAN economic community, the focus on education needs to be enhanced,” said the ESCAP report.

However, education might be a crucial step to meet Prime Minister Hun Sen’s target to move forward “from a low-income country to a lower-middle income country”, as he told Chinese news agency Xinhua in last week.

Majors in Needs in the Kingdom

I read some articles and would like to share my though on current majors in needs now in Cambodia.

3 chosen articles from RFI and Sabay, I would ask all students to have a look since they comes with a very useful meaning for your decision to choose a major.

Of course, before any decision to a major, you need to be yourself on the decision you are making. You need to be a person who can make yourself advance on the major you chose and another point, be confident enough that you can do it.

Higher education is required in the kingdom, everyone always has a place to study or mean, each one has one major fit to but we have to choose it according to the right need to current and future situation of the kingdom as well.

Commonly, high school students I had interviewed about various issue related to their study habit and the way they would choose their major in University, I found out that there are mostly choosing some similar majors as: Accounting (mostly for girls), IT (mostly for boys), Engineering (mostly for boys), Teachers (mostly for girls), Economics/Business (both of them), English (Mostly for girls) etc.

Every majors in higher education is required in Cambodia but the issue is with the person who will study it to make it advance enough. The right choice is only you, yourself to choose.

Here, I pick the articles which are concerning on technical majors and skills. In development country, those majors are very important and a unique skill since it plays a very unique requirement for all kinds of development factors. Of course, we do not ignore others but please take a look on these technical point of view through 3 articles below:

  • RFI: Sharing Experience from PSE, vocational training on technical skill

MP3 Source: RFI in Khmer

At high school, following subjects are required to study technical majors:

  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry

You need to be ready from high school and take full potential during your study in higher education.


Be ready and choose a right major

According to Sabay News, a minister of Ministry of Education of Cambodia said this coming academic (2012-2013), number of students attending university could increase by 195,617 students from previous academic of 2008-2009. Female students is expected to have about 40%. So that this year, we should have at least 58,617 students will attend university.

Recently, high school exam that we called baccalaureate diploma just finished and the result would be announced around end of August. Students would have one month of selecting the major or university to attend.

The problem after passed the high school diploma, the students would concern on which major or university they are going to attend since most of them never though or having a clear decision on one of them.

What are the factors or criterias that we would think to choose a major? Do we better choosing it according to our parents’ or relatives’ decision or our own? What is the most concerning factors between job/economics requirement and our interest or popular majors in Cambodia?

Here, I would bring you all to listen to an interview from RFA talked show between RFA, Dr. Sat Dara & Mr. Nov Sieha which is on 13rd of August about “The opportunity of high school students to study in higher education” directly here:

MP3 in Khmer, Source: RFA

CAMBODIA: Top Highest Qualification Public Universities Staff Statistic

Let’s have a look to 10 ten of highest qualification public universities in Cambodia, the staff statistic extracted from our friend’s blog:
Staff statistics by highest qualification in top public universities
Name of Universities
Total Fulltime staff
Master Holder
Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP)
National University of Management (NUM)
Royal University of Law and Economics (RULE)
Chea Sim University of Komchaymea (CSUK)
University of Svay Rieng (USV)
University of Battambong (UBB)
Mean Chey University (MCU)
National Institute of Education (NIE)
Institute of Technology of Cambodia (ITC)
Source: Education Staff Statistics by Current Status, Cadre, Qualification and Age Group National 2010-2011, the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports. [via Samrany’s Blog]

CAMBODIA – Big Increasing Number of Students Attend Higher Education in 2012

Do you know how is the number of students growth that attends higher education in Cambodia after high school?

I just read briefly on a research paper about “Establishment of Institutional Policies for Enhancing Education Quality in Cambodian Universities” and found an interesting record about number of students who attend higher education in Cambodia.

The record shows that more students every year attends higher education, in academic of 2011 – 2012, I found interesting record on doctorate and master degree which show a very big different, big increasing number from previous academic year as same as bachelor degree.

However, number of women increasing slowly if comparing to number of men.

Table 1. Comparison table of student statistics from academic year 2003-2012
Associate Degree
Bachelor Degree
173, 264
Master Degree
Grand Total
57, 828
207, 851
246, 069
Sources: MoEYS, Department of Higher Education and Department of Scientific Research, 2012 (via Samrany’s Blog)