The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport has recognised four highly talented young students, including Thuch Salik, a 15-year-old schoolboy who speaks 15 languages, and Hong Phearin, a university student who can memorise the order of 700 calendars.
Five-year-old schoolgirl Bey Pan Rasmey and nine-year-old schoolboy Heu Tieng Kimhong were also recognised for their outstanding abilities.
The ministry announced that the four outstanding young people are to get special education opportunities, while Prime Minister Hun Sen received them at his residence on Friday.
Scholarship student Phearin, who is 23 and studying in Thailand, is also able to memorise a 30-digit number after only 30 seconds and can remember the order of a full deck of cards.
The youngster took part in the Super 100 talent show on Thai television.
On hearing of Phearin’s talent, Hun Sen invited the young man and his brother, Phearun, to his residence.
The prime minister said on Facebook that the meeting with Phearin was to learn of his goals and to help him achieve them.
“I have also helped Hong Phearun, who has finished a Bachelor’s degree and is working at the Ministry of Economy and Finance’s Taxation Section, to undertake a Master’s degree. I wish the two young men healthy lives and that they achieve their dreams,” Hun Sen said.
Ministry of Education spokesman Ros Soveacha said: “The Ministry of Education will announce the special education opportunities for the outstanding students who have shown great talent and intelligence.”
The Ministry of Education had looked for outstanding students in three subjects, Khmer literature, mathematics and physics, he said.
The ministry chose 10 students per subject in Grades 9 and 12. There were a total of 60 students selected per academic year.
The president of the People Centre for Development and Peace Yong Kim Eng told The Post that highly talented young people often went undiscovered.
“Even though Thuch Salik in Siem Reap can speak 15 languages, the state did not know about him. He came to people’s attention through tour guides.
“It is important that the state continues to further improve his skills and pays special attention to him,” Eng said.
Relevant institutions, he said, have a duty to discover those with special talents.
Cambodian Youth Network vice-president Sar Mory also said the Ministry of Education should focus on those found to possess outstanding talents and hone their abilities.
“If we see talented people and do not support them, we are failing them and weakening our human resources to serve society. I think that would be regrettable,” Mory said.