The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ Fisheries Administration (FiA), in collaboration with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, is holding a series of workshops to review the fisheries science curriculums at four Cambodian universities.

The review aims to support the improvement of current study materials, in order to meet the requirements of the

Kingdom’s modern fisheries. By shaping a new generation of young professionals who can address the challenges of the rapidly evolving sector, it will enhance the management of fisheries.

The first five-day workshop is taking place in Siem Reap from November 13 to 17, with a second scheduled for December 4 to 8. The four universities involved are the Royal University of Agriculture, the Prek Leap National Institute of Agriculture, the Kampong Cham National Institute of Agriculture and Kratie University.

Aside from enhancing institutional capacity in fisheries education, this work will also ensure that university students are provided with up-to-date knowledge, skills, as well as competencies that best fit the current job market demands, said an FAO in Cambodia press release.

Eric Baran, international fisheries research specialist at FAO Cambodia, addressed the first workshop.

“We are responding to demand from faculties teaching fisheries science for assistance with reviewing and updating the fisheries curriculum in order to catch up with current knowledge and technologies, as well as adapt to the evolving local, regional and international job market in the fisheries sector,” he said.

Hem Virak, director of the Kampong Cham National Institute of Agriculture, welcomed the support for curriculum revision and development, which was being carried out in coordination with lecturers from other universities.

Likewise, Phen Sovatdy, vice-dean of the Prek Leap National Institute of Agriculture’s Faculty of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment, also expressed his thanks for the initiative.

“This is the first time ever that a curriculum is being prepared with the coordination and input of all four universities,” she said.

During the workshops, deans and professors, along with other key stakeholders, conducted detailed assessments of learning outcomes for fisheries subjects, in order to ensure they are relevant to the needs of the sector and the demands of the industry.

“The lecturers and university management staff also had the chance to provide feedback and share practical experience on the existing curriculum and syllabi,” explained the press release.

The initial workshop featured the participation of 30 representatives from both the government and the four participating universities.

Following the session, curriculum and syllabi will be revised and updated before they are submitted to the agriculture ministry and Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport for approval. It I hoped they will become the norm for years to come.

The FAO also supports exchanges between the FiA and the four universities, through the development of a programme which connects year four Bachelor of Science students and 20 provincial FiA cantonments.

The FiA will host the students, who will spend six months undertaking a research thesis on a subject relevant to the cantonment. They spend another six months in the cantonments, where they will assist with management tasks and gain valuable professional experience.