Students take a break from their studies in the grounds of the Royal University of Phnom Penh.
What does it offer?
The Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) has two main faculties. The Faculty of Social Science and Humanities has departments such as geography, Khmer literature, media and communication, philosophy, psychology, sociology, tourism and Linguistics.
In the Faculty of Science, students can study biology, chemistry, computer science, environmental science, mathematics and physics.
The university also has two centres, the Institute of Foreign Languages, which focusses on French, English, Japanese and Korean, and the Cambodia Japan Cooperation Centre.
All students study English for three years to assist them in finding a job after graduation based on their selected major.
Running the show
RUPP President Lav Chhiv Eav was a professor of mathematics at the university before he became a rector.
He was director of studies and vice president before becoming president of RUPP in 2005.
RUPP has around 300 professors. To teach at the university, professors must have graduated from teachers training school and have at least three to four years' experience in teaching undergraduate courses.
Some have received further training either abroad or locally through the university's partners to receive a master's degree.
All applicants must have a high school certificate or a diploma from an institute of higher education.
Admission to all degrees at RUPP is administered by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, based on results in the High School Certificate. Those applying for study in the Department of Media and Communications or the Institute of Foreign Languages must sit a separate entrance examination.
Some departments require specialised knowledge such as English or computer literacy.
Fees and scholarships
The university has both fee-paying (private) and non-fee paying (scholarship) students.
The English department and IT department fees are US$450 per year while other departments are US$250 per year.
All courses require a minimum of 24 hours per week study.
Each year around 920 to 940 scholarships are available, plus 80 scholarships to the Institute of Foreign Languages.
RUPP supports outstanding students from poor families through their scholarship program, with more than 80 percent of these students coming from outside the capital.
Each year 20 to 30 students will receive a scholarship to study abroad in countries such as Japan, America and Australia.
The end product
Some 2,200 students enrolled in the 2008-09 year; 1,621 graduated this year.
Around 70 to 80 percent of graduates find work. Around half of these are employed as teachers, while others find work with NGOs or in social work. Many NGOs and companies contact the school to find students to fill their vacancies.
The university plans to further develop its human resources by training lecturers for master's degrees by finding more partners to support them in their study abroad.
There are also plans to boost teaching staff by hiring capable lecturers who have skills acceptable to the Accreditation Committee of Cambodia.
More buildings are also planned.
From the halls of the Royal University of Phnom Penh
Ponn Chhay, RUPP director of studies:
"All students who study here must be outstanding: strict, good morals, and high in knowledge. On the other hand, ‘good school' does not only refer to good students and good teachers, but good environment and good restaurants. Most teachers who teach at other schools graduate from my school."
Chuon Kimleng, 20, second-year student:
"I am a scholarship student in the biology department. I like this school because it is strict on exams - all students have to depend on their own ability. But I don't like the rivalry between scholarship students and fee-paying students; they don't have a good relationship with each other."
Phok Sey Pherum, 20, third-year student:
"Actually I don't want to study Khmer literature, but because my mother wants me to become a teacher, I study here. I think this school is good enough for me because it has teachers with a high level of experience, good principles and a good environment."
The Royal University of Phnom Penh
Russian Federation Boulevard,
Tuol Kork, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Tel: 855 (0)23 883 640 / 016 857 171
Fax: 855 (0)23 880 116
WORDS AND PHOTOS BY MOM KUNTHEAR