Bede Corry with three ASEAN scholarship recipients before their departure.
OPPORTUNITIES for Cambodian students to study in New Zealand have now tripled, with 30 new postgraduate scholarships to the nation’s universities now being offered from next year.
The threefold increase in scholarships was announced in Phnom Penh by New Zealand ambassador Bede Corry at the first reception staged to welcome Cambodians who have studied in New Zealand.
Corry also announced a new English language training course for senior government officials. The first batch of five senior officials to study under the programme are about to leave for their one-month placements.
This gives them the chance to improve their English and build important links with their New Zealand counterparts, said Dr Phoeurng Sakona, Minister for Education, Youth and Sport.
Twenty officials a year study in New Zealand for up to five months under a scheme to upgrade their competence in English and improve cultural and regional cooperation. The scheme has been running for nearly 20 years, building key links between government officials in both countries.
New Zealand ASEAN Scholars Awards (NZAS) were introduced in Cambodia in 2005, giving students the chance to complete postgraduate studies in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin or at one of the many other world-class universities in the country.
Over the past five years, New Zealand has invested more than US$5.5 million in schemes to improve human resources development in Cambodia, said the ambassador.
“Education is important in itself. But it assumes even greater importance as our region and our world changes around us,” said Corry.
“And it’s not just those with scholarships who can choose to study in New Zealand. IDP is now providing counselling for study in New Zealand. Let’s help others benefit from a New Zealand education and become part of this wonderful alumni network that is our Kiwi family in Cambodia,” he added.
Under the scholarships, successful recipients get financial help for tuition fees, living costs and airfares to New Zealand.
Nearly half have so far been given to women, noted Phoeurng Sakona. “I am even more delighted to know that the education sector has received the most NZAS awards compared to other sectors,” she added.
“We need more women with equitable access to education to further the socio-economic development of Cambodia. We need more teachers, trainers and professors with world-class qualifications to pass on their well-rounded knowledge and skills to the younger generation,” said the minister.