In countries with older and more developed higher education systems, there are books, Web sites and experts that provide a guide for high school graduates to find the best schools for them.
So far, the Accreditation Committee of Cambodia (ACC), which is a watchdog organisation under the control of the Council of Ministers, is the only government body doing a thorough review of all Cambodian universities. However, their findings are not made public and, therefore, do not provide much help for students in need of guidance.
Many students choose schools based on their friends’ or families’ recommendations and do not really figure out which school has the best academic program for them. Others choose schools based on the cost, which ranges from US$200 to nearly $1,000 a month. However, all schools are not the same and a couple hundred dollars per year could make a lot of difference.
Here are some of the strategies used by students in the Kingdom to choose a school, and on the back page of this issue you can review your own school and see how well it is preparing you for future jobs and academic opportunities.
Name: Chin Sreyly
Year and Major: 1st year business
School: Asia Europe University
“Because I am from Kampot province, I don’t know about universities in Phnom Penh. I decided to study here because of my brother, who chose a university for me.
“I also heard from my neighbour and friends that this university is good, and I always hear this university’s advertisements in my province.
“I might not be able to afford other universities, but at AEU I can afford it by working and studying at the same time. I would prefer to study at another school but I cannot afford it.
Name: Hun Davy
Year and Major: 4th year sociology
While in high school, Davy was not sure how to choose a university. So she followed her sister’s suggestion to study at RUPP.
Davy said that some students follow their friends because they want to study with their friends.
She added that the education system in Cambodia does not reach international standards. “Universities should improve their lecturers, curriculae and courses for general skills such as computers, the Internet and English. Davy expects that when she graduates she can find a good job with a minimum monthly salary of around US$200.
Name: Chea Chandanny
Year and Major: 3rd year finance
“I considered the background of the university, such as the quality of the professors, curriculum, and domestic and international partners. The curriculum should follow international standards because I study not only for a job but for future opportunities studying abroad as well.
“When deciding on a university and a major, I needed to think about my favourite talent and the things I am passionate about, but also the social impact I might have.