Minister of Education, Youth and Sports Hang Chuon Naron said the ministry’s long-term goal is to establish at least one technical high school in each province and require each young person to have acquired at least one professional skill. There are currently 18 technical educational institutes nationwide, which are offering 10 majors to 3,278 students.

Chuon Naron made the announcement while presiding over the handover ceremony of 50 laptops to Hun Sen Chumpouvoin General and Technical High School. The computers were donated by the Cambodia Team for Education Programme Organisation (CTEP) in collaboration with the ministry’s Department of Vocational Orientation. They will be used to implement a project which will teach coding at the high school.

He thanked CTEP for providing the computers to students, saying they would allow them to study and practice coding directly. He also called for increased cooperation – between the education ministry and the vocational orientation department – in introducing coding classes to more schools.

He said the collaboration could help stimulate students’ thinking. STEM education – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – was important in training youth in the various technical skills that the labour market demanded.

“Therefore, it is the education ministry’s goal to establish one general and technical high school in each province and to require each graduate to have at least one technical skill,” he said.

Chuon Naron said the ministry has implemented the first, second and third phases of its education reforms, which focused on institutional system building and capacity development.

He added that the latest reforms focused on updating and promoting the implementation of a master plan to improve technical education in upper secondary education in order to increase career orientation. The ministry intended to expand technical schools across the whole country, with the medium term goal of ensuring there was one in each province, and the long term goal of one being present in every district.

Students display their gadgets at an electronics exhibition organised by Hun Sen Champuvorn High School in the capital’s Por Sen Chey district on Wednesday. Heng Chivoan

The plan focused on increasing the response of education to the job market, through the concept “a young man with at least one skill in life.”

CTEP representative Chhun Soksan said the donation of 50 more laptops was through the project “Promoting coding education in general and technical high schools throughout Cambodia”. The project is currently piloting in two schools.

The organisation provided each school with 50 computers and trained 20 core teachers on the basic of writing code, using coding trainers from Taiwan.

“We focus on three major programmes: first, education – in computer skills, English and Chinese. Second, we attempt to find jobs for young people to reduce migration abroad. Our third focus is on agricultural cooperation in Southeast Asia,” he said.

Soksan said that in collaboration with the ministry, CTEP has so far provided 268 computers to 10 public schools to teach general computer courses to students.

He said everyone knows that the government has set a policy that Cambodia will be a high middle-income country by 2030 and a high-income country by 2050. CTEP believed that in order to achieve this vision, Cambodia needs to prepare its potential human resources to drive economic growth.

“Participating in the training and building of a skilled workforce is also the main mission of CTEP. We have introduced the subject of coding to high schools in order to allow our work force to compete with those in other nations,” he said.