One example of Malaysia’s strong ties with Cambodia is Limkokwing University in Phnom Penh.
“Education is the very component that holds the key to empowering every young Cambodian into becoming innovative leaders. It is time, for the younger generation to be imbued with the right kind of education capable of creating a new generation of global leaders for a better future for Cambodia,” said Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Paduka Dr Limkokwing.
Dr. Limkokwing said the commitment to building human capital in Cambodia was taken because Cambodia needs an education system capable of meeting the challenges of the 21st century.
“Technology advancement, evolving market trends, and the insecure global political situation have placed huge demands on countries like Cambodia to transform in order to keep up with the rest of the world,” Dr. Limkokwing said.
When Dr Limkokwing decided to establish a campus at Phnom Penh it was part of his global vision to assist the developing world overcome its human capital development issues, he said.
“The need for highly skilled individuals able to work within this global environment and who are adept in the use of new technology has become a global battle for talent, hence the urgency to build a base of skilled Cambodians who will manage the transition that the country is undergoing,” he said.
Dr Limkokwing’s crusade, while astonishing to some, is merely doing what he believes in, he said.
“I am simply applying the lessons I have learnt in building human capital for Malaysia and it is intimately acquainted with the issues facing other countries attempting to empower their youth,” he said.
“We must move away from measuring education by the quantity of graduates. The measure must be in the quality of human capital we are producing. It must be based not on an obsolete industrial age rote-learning measure, but one where creative thinking and problem solving are embedded not as a subject, but within the entire learning process,” he said.
Dr Limkokwing says he believes Cambodia will surge forward in the coming years, describing young people as vibrant, energetic and diligent.
“The students at the campus here in Phnom Penh provide a glimpse of the future that is awaiting Cambodia. And it is very bright. I am very happy that our university has played a key role in building this corps of youths whose creativity has been unlocked,” he said.
Limkokwing University’s Cambodian students are now part of the a global network that includes the UK, China, Indonesia, Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland.
Dr Limkokwing noted that digital skills were becoming very important as Cambodia begins to connect more actively with the global economy.
“With more investors attracted to Cambodia to expand economic activities related to manufacturing and tourism there is a demand for graduates with skills in the use of digital technology,” he said.
“In fact graduates from Limkokwing University are among the most employable in Cambodia because of the technology skills and creative mindset that sets them apart.”
He said there was tremendous advantage in the global exposure of students being able to spend a semester abroad at any of the Limkokwing campuses overseas.
“For those who are business-minded the university is able to build entrepreneurial capability through innovative programmes that also provide leadership skills. We foresee the development of new businesses connected with creative technology,” he said.
“The Limkokwing University has no parallel in the manner it has expanded and merged with the countries where it has set up campuses. Limkokwing University matches its programmes with the countries’ national development plans to build the kind of manpower they need to build their economies. To date the university has a global student population of 30,000 from 160 countries. More recently it has been attracting more students from European countries like France, Germany, Finland, Denmark and Russia, in addition to an increasing number of students from the Middle-East and Asia,” he said.
Limkokwing Univeristy is ranked as one of Asia’s leading universities and was recently awarded Malaysia’s University of Innovation by the Ministry of Higher Education. It was the only Malaysian university included in a listing of universities with the most innovative education models by Cambridge University, topping a number of accomplishments, including awards from USA, Spain, UK, UAE, Switzerland, Italy, France, China and Korea.