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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Communications Institute Planned

Communications Institute Planned

In a bid to meet the growing demand for workers with tele-communication skills, the

government is planning to open a communications Institute, Minister of Information

Khieu Kanharith said recently.

The minster made the announcement as he presided over a certificate-awarding ceremony

to 120 students who had completed typing courses at the Journalist English Typing

Center (JETC) on Aug. 20.

"We all know that it is difficult to find skilled (Cambodian) people to help

rebuild Cambodia...And, it must be a pleasure to witness the center's assistance

to provide training to our students, who are the main resource we have to reconstruct

Cambodia," Kanharith said, adding that the typing center would form a major

part of the new institute.

UNESCO has pledged to donate $400,000 to help start up the new school.

In addition to the JETC, Kanharith said, the institute would provide other basic

training skills for aspiring journalists in subjects such as computers, photography

and film-making.

JETC was jointly created by APHEDA-an Australian non-government organization which

is sponsoring the center-and the national news agency SPK which provided one apartment

in its printing house to be used a classroom.

Lorraine Sanderson, who has been coordinating the school since its inauguration in

early May last year, said the center has so far produced 475 certificated students,

under the guidance of four Cambodian teachers who are also involved in preparing

training programs.

More than 400 typewriters with text books and other material, including desks and

chairs, were given to JETC by the Australian government.

"It's very important to convince people to do the three month term [on typewriters]

before starting on computers. If you want to do things properly, you have to put

in time," she said.

Sanderson, who is married to UNTAC force commander Gen. John Sanderson, said she

would return to Australia when the peace-keeping mission is over. But she expressed

a strong hope about the future of the JETC.

"I am very confident that it will be able to function when I leave. An important

message is that the centre must be run by the Cambodians themselves," she said.

One well-informed source said that the ex-minister of information attempted to close

JETC in order to sell the printing house to a foreign company, but failed to do so

when faced with strong opposition from inside SPK.

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