As in previous years, grade-12 students who have passed their diploma exams are searching for universities to pursue their tertiary education while the schools are busy processing applications.

Students who are interested in media management skills often apply to the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) to study at its Department of Media and Communication (DMC).

Media management skills cover news writing, television and radio production, news presenters, content creators, filmmakers and graphic designers.

Bun Leap, one of the students in Phnom Penh who have applied to take Media Management exams, said he likes the curriculum at DMC, noting that he had not realised there were higher education programmes matching his interests until recently.

“I like to shoot and edit videos and want to be a content producer on social media. I was surprised to learn that there is a school for this skill,” he said.

However, in order to be admitted to the school, applicants have to go through two qualifying stages: A writing test and an oral interview. Without much preparation, the 16-year-old said he did not have high hopes of passing the exams but would try his best, adding that he would resit them in future if he failed the first time.

Another student who applied for the entrance exams, Khim Sokunthy, said he found out about the DMC through his teacher in Kampong Thom province.

“I have a dream of becoming a journalist, which is something I have wanted to do for a long time,” he said.

Sokunthy added that she has high hopes for the entrance exams and is ready for both stages.

Ung Bun Y, head of the DMC, said: “In general, students have to have their passions. So far, the students did not know much about what kind of skills we teach in our department ... But anyone who might like writing, composing, photography, video production or communications can learn some of the skills we have to offer.”

“Most graduates from our department have landed jobs, though our resources are scarce in terms of helping them. The market definitely needs a lot of media and communication professionals at present,” he added.

The curriculum in the first year focuses on the basics, so students have to learn more general subjects than during their second year. The third year focuses on media writing for radio and television, production of radio and television programmes, video production, documentaries, public relations and research.

The final year focuses mainly on management, such as information room management, project and media management and campaign management relating to communications.

There are currently three universities with full-fledged media skills departments and faculty: RUPP, Pannasastra University of Cambodia (PUC) and the University of Cambodia (UC). However, there are also a number of schools that focus on technical skills such as graphic design or video editing, even though they may not confer full degrees.