PHNOM PEHN, Cambodia, February 16, 2011 — As he emerges from a conference hall in hisstudent uniform of grey shirt and black trousers, Cheng Sothai says tutoringgives him three things: “First, it raises my awareness of new ideas, both inthe formal and informal development sector. Second, it tells me new strategiesto improve the education sector. Third, it introduces me to the educationsector’s challenges.”
Sothai was among 2,500high school students, university students, lecturers, civil societyrepresentatives, youth association members, and government officials whoparticipated in a Student Talk Series discussing the Higher Quality Educationand Capacity Improvement Project (HQECIP). The project is supported by theWorld Bank and aims to improve the quality of teaching, management and researchcapacity, and provide 1,000 scholarships to disadvantaged students. The seriestook place in five provinces: Sihanoukville, Kampong Cham, Siem Reap, BanteayMeanchey, and Battambang, from October 22 to 28, 2010.
Sothai, a WesternUniversity student in Kampong Cham, says the presentation surprised him byraising his awareness of the education field in Cambodia.
In similar vein to Sothai, Ms Vong Sreymich, a student of Mean Chey University,says, “I learned a lot from this session. First, it gives us, the youngergeneration, more awareness on education quality. Second, we have the chance toask about what we are studying and subjects we are taking, so that we canimprove capacity building for the development of the nation.”
Another female student,Ms Srey Mach, a student at the University of Management and Economics in Sihanoukville,is noncommittal on whether the conference has been good or bad. But she says,“Though it was quite broad, I learned a lot. I can learn about information thatI need for my studies, as well as my work.”
The session ended withfruitful results. Participants, particularly high school students, askednumerous relevant questions. Chiev Sokkom, a female student from Samdech OvHigh School in Banteay Meanchey province, asks, “We know the Cambodianeducation sector is pretty weak. So what are your suggestions on how it can beimproved?”
Many questions wereasked regarding scholarships, quality of education, job opportunities,self-development, and the benefits of the Higher Quality Education and CapacityImprovement Project.