Because of improvements in education, along with new information channels connecting Cambodia to the rest of the world, curiosity has become a driving force in the development of knowledge and understanding among Cambodian youth.
In the past, Cambodians had little knowledge of the world outside of their country, or even their village, but today, students not only have more interest in what is happening in the world around them due to the rapid globalisation of the Kingdom; more students have the resources necessary to fulfill their curiosity.
A curious person does not need teachers or parents to tell them to learn. Curious people will naturally search out answers to life’s questions and, by keeping their mind active, they inevitably become smarter and more skilled.
When a curious person encounters a new idea, they do not assume that they can’t understand it, they anticipate that they will learn about fresh concepts that will open up a new world of possibilities and keep their lives always changing and always exciting. Curiosity is a way of thinking that requires an interest in the world around us, but also the confidence that we will be able to understand ideas that are currently foreign to us.
There is no doubt that students in Cambodia are becoming more interested in the world around them in recent years, and Lift talked to some experts to find out what factors are driving Cambodians towards curiosity.
The development of technology in the Kingdom is perhaps the most obvious change contributing to greater intellectual curiosity in the Kingdom. “We can see the new technology used for phones and computers is allowing the exchange of information and news happening around the world,” said Chan Chhay, vice president of the research department at the Academy of National Police. “This makes youth try to learn more in order to make the most of these new technologies.”
As Cambodian youth become engaged with other young people in countries around the world, they are also beginning to realise the intellectual capacity of young people and are striving to be competitive with their peers around the world. Ms Mary, who is a presenter for the show I Need You on radio 99.5 FM, which raises awareness of issues relating to children and offers solutions to their problems, said that there is a rising trend among students to seek out academic and extracurricular opportunities that will give them more knowledge and experience. Indeed, there has been a steep rise in recent years of students involved in social work, training programmes, seminars, internships or study abroad programmes to exchange ideas and experiences in order to help their country develop.
As there are more examples of Cambodian youth making a difference in their country, and a greater understanding among youth of how they can help, the desire to help develop Cambodia is another factor driving the curiosity of youth. “To develop an institution or society, a high quality of human resources is needed,” said Chan Chhay.
“The youth are obviously the main actors in this development, so we must develop their knowledge, skills and competency.” While companies and organisations will be hiring more and more young people to fill highly skilled jobs, it is up to individual students to build up their own capacity so they can add value to the company as soon as they are hired.
“People are naturally excited to learn about things that will benefit them in the future,” said Sun Samnang, a law instructor at Pannasastra University. As Cambodia’s future looks brighter and the role of students becomes increasingly important, it only makes sense that youth are beginning to care deeply about their country and the world around them.