Experts from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and various educational institutions continued to share insights on the second day of their joint conference on early childhood, primary, secondary and tertiary education.

The conference was held from April 25 to April 27 at the Institute of Technology of Cambodia.

Heng Kreng, director of the ministry’s Department of Scientific Research, noted at the meeting that the general situation in higher education in Cambodia was still marked by a low enrollment rate of only 12.4 per cent, while enrollment rates in upper middle-income countries generally range from 40 to 50 per cent.

He said 8.7 per cent of part-time higher-education instructors and staff have doctorate degrees, while 4.6 per cent of full-time education staff have doctorate degrees.

“The general situation of higher education in Cambodia is that the quality of the programmes have met the national minimum quality standards but the programmes need to meet international quality standards through increased investment in research in higher education, the publishing of research articles and the operation of research journals along with the transfer of knowledge and technology with the private and industrial sectors,” he said.

He pointed out that the higher education reform 2018-2023 is focused on strengthening governance, improving the qualifications of doctoral professors, improving the curriculum in response to industrial development, promoting research and the establishment of centres of excellence and quality for assessment of education.

He said the ministry’s goals were to co-organise public investment in research in higher education institutions in order to strengthen ownership in promoting research culture; continue to strengthen the capacity of each centre according to the criteria of its type; organise a forum to disseminate the centre’s results with the relevant ministries, development partners and the private sector; follow the business plan of the centre to bring in income to students, professors and institutions; and implement a system of rewards for researchers or experts.

Pring Morakot, director of the ministry’s Department of Secondary Education, also gave a presentation.

“Schools are doing well and developing based on learning and meeting the needs of students, but we need to find a path to higher quality inputs [that is, teachers, administrators, study content],” he said.

He said that up until 2017, irregularities created divisions and separation between schools and their communities in a cascade of problems that caused the community to negatively view both teachers and schools.

“But from 2017-2021, through the school reform programme, things have improved starting with getting schools to follow procedures and expanding the reforms and linking this process to all target schools to continue to develop and produce quality inputs – teachers, school management and study materials – which are chosen based on specific criteria and standardised mechanisms,” he said.