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Kingdom lacks engineers: minister

8 Student Hun Sen University

Because Cambodia’s youth has not focused enough on studying technical or engineering subjects, the Kingdom now faces a lack of human resources and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports plans to reform the country’s education system, according to the minister in charge.

Minister Im Sethy said he foresaw businesses or office-work related subjects attracting more students at university level than engineering subjects.

“Now we see most [youths] have studied business, office work and communication, but they don’t pay attention and rarely choose subjects like engineering, and technical works,” he said.

Im Sethy said people who have had proper education, particularly university students, mostly focused on studying in fields where they don’t have to work in difficult areas, but prefer studying communication subjects, such as writing and speaking.

Education officials are learning from this situation and are looking to reform the education system in order to direct the youths to target their options for their jobs, he said.

He acknowledged that technical learning is important for improving the quality of work.

“We need to establish some places that are necessary in some provinces to train techniques [to the young],” he said. “We think further how to encourage youths – both boys and girls – who are studying in high school to have signals that direct them to study science and mathematics.”

According to the ministry’s Education Statistics and Indicators 2011-2012, Cambodia had 554,828 enrolled students studying from grade 7 to grade 12, while the students who finished high school totalled 90,000 last year.

Tech Samnang, adviser to the government and former secretary-general of the Accreditation Committee of Cambodia (ACC), agreed with Im Sethy, saying that most of the students have no confidence in their own decisions and chose subjects not based on their desires.

“They see immediate money and they flock to study that subject,” he said, adding that “when they apply for work, one company needs 10 employees, but applicants could be a thousand. How can they [be employed]?”

Cambodia needed a lot of engineering graduates, particularly in the agricultural sector, while most Cambodian youths thought that studying agriculture means going back to work on a farm, but they don’t know that they can use new techniques to produce more from the farms.

Heng Vanda, principal of the Vanda Institute, said recently there were about 8,000 students majoring in accounting.

He said the business major could be divided into many subjects, such as management, marketing, accounting and tourism which would enable the students to have jobs during their studying time, or let some of the students to set up their own businesses, such as running restaurants.

“Cambodia lacks human resources in higher skills such as financial analysis,” he said.

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