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
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
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.