The Australian Centre for Education (ACE) last Thursday held the official opening ceremony for its Chak Angre Campus attended by Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs the Honourable Penny Wong.
HE Dr Hang Chuon Naron, Minister of Education, Youth and Sport, and Mao Sreng, ACE/IDP Education country director also presided over the ceremony, with the guests of honour unveiling the commemorative plaque before being taken on a tour of the state-of-the-art facilities.
The grand opening of its sixth campus comes with ACE celebrating its 30th year in the Kingdom after being established by IDP Education in 1992 to provide English language training to UNTAC – United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia – personnel.
Wong, who is also a Senator for Southern Australia, hailed the importance of the new campus.
“Thirty years ago, the then prime minister Paul Keating and one of my predecessors as foreign minister, Gareth Evans, understood the importance of the region we share.
“Standing beside the Bassac River, a major branch of the Mekong, this new campus will equip even more young women and men, including those with us today, with the English skills to realise opportunities as international citizens.
“It stands as a reminder of a region in which we share a connected future,” she said.
Wong also commended ACE as a proud part of Australia’s education contribution to Cambodia.
ACE alumni have used their English language skills to undertake postgraduate studies in Australia to get the job they want, to open new businesses and to bridge their local communities to the wider world, she said.
Education Minister Chuon Naron was pleased to note that Cambodia and Australia celebrate the significant milestone of 70 years of diplomatic relations this year, with the two nations enjoying strong bonds of friendship and productive cooperation across all domains.
“Since1992, ACE has played a crucial role in the development of English language education for Cambodian students, government officials and professionals at various levels,” he said.
The new ACE Chak Angre campus currently has 2,000 students enrolled, from seven years old to working professionals.
With a full capacity of 8,000 students, the campus is equipped with world-class facilities and flexible spaces, and is also home to an IDP Study Abroad Resource Centre and the IELTS Cambodia Official Test Centre.
In his welcome remarks at the official opening of the Chak Angre centre, ACE and IDP Education country director Sreng spoke of how the building had already played a significant role in helping the local community
“Previously a garment factory, the renovations to become a school were completed just before the arrival of Covid-19, and to curb the widespread outbreak, schools were closed and our classes at this campus were digitalised and delivered virtually.
“Thecampus was then used as a vaccination centre to speed up the government vaccination programme. Around 10,000 people from the surrounding communities received their vaccinations here,” he said.
ACE has around 80,000 enrolments a year and the new facility will allow the schools to accommodate even more students.
And ACE is not only recognised for its scale, but also for its world class quality.
Last year, ACE won the Language Educator of the Year award in London – the first school outside of Europe to have won the prestigious award – selected by a panel of 43 judges from leading universities, educational institutions, and professional bodies from 25 countries across the globe.
In addition to ACE, IDP also offers IELTS testing and international student placement services for those pursuing their studies in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the USA, the UK and Ireland.
Sreng said the anniversary celebrations were an opportunity to acknowledge the generations of students who had achieved their global goals after studying at ACE.
“Today we celebrate our 30 years of world class education services and contribution to the education in industry, and 70 years of diplomatic relations between the Cambodia and Australia this year.
“Witnessed through my 22 years with ACE and IDP, the work of our people plays a role in creating generations of leaders, strengthening and enriching Cambodian and Australian communities.
“This event represents a historic milestone symbolising strong relations between Australia and Cambodia over the past seven decades, in addition to the celebration of ACE and DP Education’s 30 years of operations in Cambodia,” said Sreng.