Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Higher education must have better vision: ministry

Higher education must have better vision: ministry

A panel including Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron on Tuesday discusses higher education in Cambodia during a three-day education congress at the Institute of Technology of Cambodia. Photo supplied
A panel including Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron on Tuesday discusses higher education in Cambodia during a three-day education congress at the Institute of Technology of Cambodia. Photo supplied

Higher education must have better vision: ministry

Cambodia lacks vision in developing its higher education institutions, officials acknowledged on Tuesday, with Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron ordering the Higher Education Department to identify skills and disciplines the country will need in the next five to 10 years.

Rey Sopheak, deputy director general for higher education at the Ministry of Education, said that there was a need to improve the quality of lecturers and research, and that the government is not adequately funding higher education institutions for STEM education, among other things.

“We don’t have a clear plan,” he said of the development of the higher education institutions.

And some private universities are not much better off, according to Chuon Naron, who gave an example of one university – which he declined to name – that was supposed to train PhD students in law but whose advisers were not legal experts.

“How do they produce a PhD in law?” he asked. “It’s a big problem. Higher education is not a place to make profit.”

More than 70 of the country’s 119 institutions of higher learning are private.

Chuon Naron called for an evaluation of what the priorities should be, asking, “Where do we want to go?”

He also urged all universities to evaluate themselves, noting that in other countries, government agencies would not hold their hand in doing so.

The ministry’s Sopheak said there was a planned $90 million higher education improvement project, but the funding is pending approval by the World Bank. If approved, the project would start in July.

“For this project, we focus on [the] quality of teaching and learning,” he said, adding that it would also look to strengthen governance as the ministry wants universities to be fully autonomous.

San Chey, executive director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said he believes higher education needs to undergo robust reform due to its long history of poor quality, especially among private institutions.

Career counselling is also needed at the high school level, and there needs to be more guidance on accessing higher education, he said. Students, he added, currently just follow their friends’ decision on what majors to choose.

“It happens from year to year,” he said. “It leads to the wrong decision for the students. This is a problem.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia voted ‘world’s friendliest country’ in Rough Guides reader poll

    Cambodia ranked number one among the “World’s Friendliest Countries”, according to a reader poll conducted by London-based international website “Rough Guides”. Taking submissions through Twitter and Facebook, “Rough Guides”, a well-known travel agency and publisher of guidebooks, said the Kingdom “was by far the

  • S’ville set to turn into ‘second Shenzhen’

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance has awarded a master plan consultancy contract to top Chinese institute for the development and transformation of Preah Sihanouk province into a “Model Multi-Purpose Special Economic Zone”, Southeast Asia’s next logistics and resort hub and innovation centre. The