The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport has given approval to higher education institutions (HEIs) and their faculty to author more than 800 Khmer-language textbooks as of the first week of May, with the work sponsored by the Research, Creativity and Innovation Fund (RCI Fund).
The education ministry announced the programme back in October last year and has received over 1,000 applications to participate since then, working from the basic principle that “every subject must have at least one Khmer-language textbook”.
In its press release on May 17, the ministry said the more than 800 Khmer-language textbooks now being written will be of enormous benefit to Cambodian students and researchers at the higher education level.
As of the first week of May, a total of 19 state and private HEIs have applied for funding to research and write a total of 1,088 Khmer-language textbooks.
According to the press release, professors and researchers who author textbooks will submit their work to the Science Council or the Education Council of Higher Education Institutions for review and evaluation of its contents along with a proposed course description and a synopsis or abstract of their work.
The board of management at each HEI will review each textbook before it is submitted.
To date, 887 proposed textbooks have been approved and the RCI Fund has committed so far to providing the authors of 824 of those textbooks with a budget for research, writing and then revising the titles they have proposed.
The ministry also reminded students who wished to continue their studies at HEIs that the availability of Khmer-language textbooks and study resources are an important part of evaluating the quality of education of these institutions.
“The book defines knowledge. Knowledge defines education. Education defines development. Without these books, there is no development,” said education minister Hang Chuon Naron.
The ministry said that in principle all HEIs must have basic Khmer-language textbooks for each subject in sufficient quantities to allow their students to study and do research. These can be physical copies of the books or available online.
“The creation of hundreds of new [Khmer-language] textbooks shows our commitment to improving the quality of education at HEIs through strengthening and developing learning resources for students and researchers. It also provides our researchers and writers with valuable work opportunities and experience,” said education ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha.
The RCI Fund was established through an initiative of the Ministry of Economy and Finance to promote a culture of research, creativity and innovation to benefit the education sector in response to the demands of the labour market due to globalisation.
The education ministry has encouraged all professors, writers and researchers to participate in this project and assist in the creation of high-quality Khmer-language textbooks in order to promote equity in learning resource accessibility for Khmer speakers.