Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Government scraps deposits for higher education bodies

Government scraps deposits for higher education bodies

Graduates at the Royal University of Phnom Penh in 2014.
Graduates at the Royal University of Phnom Penh in 2014. Pha Lina

Government scraps deposits for higher education bodies

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday approved a request by the Higher Education Association of Cambodia to waive deposits for higher education institutions opening in the Kingdom, raising concerns yesterday over the quality of education on offer given the weakness of many existing universities.

The Council of Ministers on Monday released a statement highlighting the outcome of a meeting between the premier and the association. It says the government agreed on some points, including waiving the deposits and cancelling the requirement for higher education institutions to renew their licences every five years.

Heng Vanda, chairman of the Higher Education Association, said the deposit requirement was instituted three or four years ago but also applied retroactively to existing universities, and that many institutions have not yet made the $40,000 because they couldn’t afford it.

“We just don’t have the money for the deposit,” he said. “The prime minister said there is no need to [make] a deposit. He wants to make use of the money to enhance the education quality.”

There are more than 100 public and private universities in Cambodia. Vanda said the move would not encourage more universities to open because a moratorium on new universities by Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron has been in place since 2014.

Despite the moratorium, however, social media star and ruling party booster Thy Sovantha was granted a licence by the Ministry of Education to start a university in October 2016. Chuon Naron couldn’t be reached yesterday for clarification, and ministry spokesman Ros Salin didn’t respond to calls or a request for comment.

Vanda added that in the event a university went bankrupt, the deposit wouldn’t be enough to compensate affected students, anyway.

Still, San Chey, of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said waiving the deposit “is very risky for students, because when private universities go bankrupt, the victims are the students”.

“We don’t want private universities to focus on profit rather than providing quality education to students,” he added.

Rath Chhang, deputy secretary-general of the Accreditation Committee of Cambodia, said 48 higher education institutions have undergone an internal quality improvement assessment and overall, the quality was unsatisfactory in terms of teaching, staffing, curricula and infrastructure. No Cambodian universities have been accredited yet.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Takeo hand-woven silk items provide local high-quality alternative to imports

    After graduating from university and beginning her career as a civil servant at the the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Khieu Sina found time to establish a business that aligns with her true passion – quality hand-woven Khmer goods. Her product line, known as Banteay Srei,

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,

  • Sub-Decree approves $30M for mine clearance

    The Cambodian government established the ‘Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation’, and released an initial budget of $30 million. Based on the progress of the foundation in 2023, 2024 and 2025, more funds will be added from the national budget and other sources. In a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen