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To the editor,

I just want to take one small step in offering some ideas

for Cambodian education system. Some of your articles are the sweetest news from

home; however, some of them are very sad and there is not much I can do from

here. I always think of some small thing that I can do to help improve the

quality of life in the schools I attended - Takeo Elementary, Junior High,

Senior High and law school. On 5 Feb. 1995, my friends and I met Mr. Lim Sour,

President of Khmer Student Association (KSA), to learn more about student life

in Cambodia. Per his descriptions, it is not much changed from the


One thing I learnt from this meeting is that all classes are only

offered during weekdays. From my past experience as a law school student in

Phnom Penh and in college in America, if there are some minor adjustments in

timing of offering courses, both students and college will probably gain more

benefits. For example, the college will make day, night, weekend and summer

classes available. If the Universities can offer the latter, maybe more people

who are now working in government or private industry can pursue higher

education as part time students. This way, students will have opportunity to

study while working to gain experience and progress to a college degree at the

same time. Some may take longer to finish their degree, but at least they will

have opportunity to get an education to better their life. In addition to the

above, maybe the government and private industry employees can teach on a part

time basis when it is convenient to them.

Mr.Lim Sour told us that many

talented students cannot afford to stay in college due to the high cost of

living in Phnom Penh. The schools cannot afford to offer any more classes

either. But, if everyone can pay a little for tuition, the schools may be able

to pay for part and full time teachers to teach more classes. For those talented

students who can not afford to pay, the college will seek funds such as

government student loans, grants and scholarships at home and abroad to support

them. The rich country like the United States still asks the student to pay

tuition for college classes.

These are not my ideas. They are in fact

routinely used in America. My friends and I and possibly many other Cambodians

in America may be able to offer some teaching without charge in areas such as

engineering (civil, chemical, electrical, mechanical), computer science,

advanced mathematics, physics, chemistry, banking, statistics and laboratory

practices in both colleges and high schools if the schedules of the classes

would fit the schedule of their work in America. We will try to accommodate the

class schedule in Cambodia if we can plan at least six months ahead.


welcome any comment or suggestions from students and school administrations for

what Cambodian Americans can do to provide higher education to all Cambodians to

use all their potential.

- Sokhom Phann, BelAir, California, USA.



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