Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - SpringBoard 4 Cambodia opens path for students to the United Kingdom



SpringBoard 4 Cambodia opens path for students to the United Kingdom

A group of Cambodian students take a break from their studies at UK universities.
A group of Cambodian students take a break from their studies at UK universities. PHOTO SUPPLIED

SpringBoard 4 Cambodia opens path for students to the United Kingdom

Cambodia's history of sending its citizens to participate in “formal spoken English” contests, both locally and internationally, didn’t start until the days of UNTAC in the early 1990s.

With the arrival of the United Nations, the trend to study English picked up in formerly francophone Cambodia. As of today, English is the second language of choice for many in Cambodia and the region, but a lack of communication and official recognition from native English countries – like the United Kingdom – is still a barrier for Cambodians.

One key to improving Cambodians’ English speaking skills is to be immersed in the language abroad – preferably in the UK. SpringBoard 4 Cambodia (SB4C), a private, for-profit enterprise, is an institution that facilitates such language trips. As of 2014, SB4C has sent 300 students to the UK.

When SB4C opened its office in Cambodia in 2007, the purpose was to make it as easy as possible for Cambodian students to study in the UK.

Sen Pidet, managing director of SB4C explains: “SB4C charges nothing for study consultations, necessary documents or English exam registrations. We offer services in the name of a legal representative of universities or other institutions in the UK.”

SB4C offers four main services to help students or senior researchers to pursue their study in Great Britain, Pidet said. These include study consultation and coordination, registration for tests and exams, IELTS Standard English testing to certify satisfactory English competence, and placing volunteers at British academic fairs and English-speaking competitions in Cambodia.

In order for students to go abroad, they need to successfully go through SB4C’s offers. SB4C’s preparation program allows young people to see some of the world before traveling to Europe.

This artwork was produced by a Cambodian student studying make-up and design in the UK.
This artwork was produced by a Cambodian student studying make-up and design in the UK. PHOTO SUPPLIED

“Thus far, we have organised four official English speaking contests in Cambodia. And for 2014-2015 contest in Cambodia, we plan to select last year’s winners to compete in Asia, which will be held in Indonesia’s Bali, with many other countries participating,” he said.

“It is the first time over the past 20 years in which Cambodians will have the opportunity to compete in an international, officially recognised English-speaking test. And what is vital after Cambodians’ participation in Bali in 2015 is that SpringBoard 4 Cambodia is also ready to field its candidates for a host of Asian English-speaking test in 2016, which will be conducted in Siem Reap’s Angkor Wat temple.”

The international competition in 2016 will test three different skill levels: “junior level” for 12 to 18-year-olds; “senior level” for 18 to 24-year-olds, which is intended for university students; and the “young teachers” level for 22 to 28-year-olds who already are professional English teachers.

Additionally, there is a debating competition for candidates 28 years of age and above.

SB4C’s efforts to involve the students in as many English speaking program as possible is highly effective, according to Pidet.

“Through experience and multiple testing in Phnom Penh, our students’ exam papers that are marked in England have shown that 60 per cent of the Cambodian students score quite well, with 6.5 marks [out of 10], and up to 3 per cent even reaching 8.5.”

Cambodian students who finally go to study in the UK are financially supported by their families, although some receive scholarships from the UK and Cambodian governments.

Students range from high school level, to post-graduates and PhD candidates. As tuition fees range from $15,000 to $20,000 per year, students who cannot pay the required sum are allowed to earn money through a student job.

If Cambodian students feel lonely during their studies abroad, their parents or guardians can easily apply for visa to visit. SB4C also helps with the application free of charge.

MOST VIEWED

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    The Ministry of Health has issued a directive on the treatment of people who have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, following a suggestion from Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of January 21. The directive permits home quarantine for those who

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • Mr Pancake or M Crepe? Tasty by any title

    Crowds of people gather around a lone man with a mobile food cart every day at around 2pm in front of the Institut Francais du Cambodge to order what many say are the best crepes in Phnom Penh. To some – even to the man making

  • Hun Sen gets 4th Covid shot, urges compatriots to follow

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany on January 14 received their fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine and called on compatriots to follow suit as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread in the community. This marks the launch of Cambodia's fourth-dose vaccination campaign,

  • Fourth dose Covid booster drive jabs 43K in two days

    In the first two days of the fourth-dose Covid-19 vaccination campaign, more than 43,000 people volunteered to get the jabs, while over 4.6 million people have received a third shot. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said that fourth-dose vaccinations, which began on January 14 exclusively with the Pfizer

  • Singapore backs Cambodia's efforts on Myanmar

    Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong supports Cambodia in its efforts to seek a solution to the ongoing Myanmar crisis as the chair of ASEAN. Lee expressed his support during a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen via videoconference on January 14, with the talks focused