Only 10 per cent of knowledge in life comes from school, while 90 per cent comes from the outside world – meeting good people, travelling a lot, experiencing different situations – to make wise decisions.”
‘It is deeply disappointing to graduate from university and find yourself rejected by employers. Even more disappointing is to see people succeed with no tertiary qualifications while you can’t get a job despite your degree.
Many students agree that grades do not necessarily reflect their actual intelligence and that the number of subjects they take is more important to gain knowledge than achieving high marks.
Today, some students try hard to study for at least four years, yet after all this time and effort sill find it hard to get a job, or a job that pays a decent salary.
Rising entrepreneur Chy Sila, who is behind such booming ventures as online firm Sabay Digital Corporation, the popular Platinum Cineplex and Cambodia’s largest food chain CBM Corporation, never made it through university.
“After graduating from [Chea Sim] Sonthor Mok High School in 1992, I took a one-year preparation course for an architecture degree, but it turned out to be unsuccessful,” Sila said.
While others retook the course, Sila saw the purpose of studying to earn money, and with the prospects of his academic pursuits becoming financially rewarding grim, decided to look for other avenues to success.
Aged 19, Sila began working in many industries, beginning as a tour guide before eventually transitioning into advertising.
“About two years later [after I started in tourism] I quit the job as a tour guide supervisor and then starting working in the marketing field,” he said, adding that this required a severe pay cut from a salary of about $1,000 a month to $150.
“Working in tour agency is routine work. I didn’t find improvement for myself and benefits to my dreams. That’s why I quit.”
Neang Sovathana, better known as DJ Nana, has also been able to find success despite never completing a tertiary degree. But her beginnings had a very different origin – social work with the Khmer Youth Association in her home province of Kampong Cham.
The 27-year-old was unable to finish high school, burdened with need to support her three younger siblings own education fees and daily expenses.
After leaving high school, Sovanthana also help her mother and sisters open small business near the Chea Sim Sonthor Mok High School.
Day-to-day economic pressures also pushed Luck Mom out of her final year of high school, who dropped out aged 20 after her family suffered a financial crisis.
“I finished my studies in 2003 at Wat Kosh High School in grade 12. At that time my family had a real financial problem. That’s why I couldn’t continue my education through to university.
But after starting out as a secretary, often for very little pay, Mom developed her language skills, worked hard and now draws a stable income working for a tour agency focused on the Cambodia-France market.
For Sila, all these success cases come down to each persons ability to absorb lessons from outside of the classroom.
“Only 10 per cent of knowledge in life comes from school, while 90 per cent comes from the outside world – meeting good people, travelling a lot, experiencing different situations – to make wise decisions,” he said.
“Keep chasing your dreams, don’t let your dream come true. If it comes true, it may not be true at all.”