Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Higher education must have better vision: ministry



Higher education must have better vision: ministry

A panel including Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron on Tuesday discusses higher education in Cambodia during a three-day education congress at the Institute of Technology of Cambodia. Photo supplied
A panel including Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron on Tuesday discusses higher education in Cambodia during a three-day education congress at the Institute of Technology of Cambodia. Photo supplied

Higher education must have better vision: ministry

Cambodia lacks vision in developing its higher education institutions, officials acknowledged on Tuesday, with Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron ordering the Higher Education Department to identify skills and disciplines the country will need in the next five to 10 years.

Rey Sopheak, deputy director general for higher education at the Ministry of Education, said that there was a need to improve the quality of lecturers and research, and that the government is not adequately funding higher education institutions for STEM education, among other things.

“We don’t have a clear plan,” he said of the development of the higher education institutions.

And some private universities are not much better off, according to Chuon Naron, who gave an example of one university – which he declined to name – that was supposed to train PhD students in law but whose advisers were not legal experts.

“How do they produce a PhD in law?” he asked. “It’s a big problem. Higher education is not a place to make profit.”

More than 70 of the country’s 119 institutions of higher learning are private.

Chuon Naron called for an evaluation of what the priorities should be, asking, “Where do we want to go?”

He also urged all universities to evaluate themselves, noting that in other countries, government agencies would not hold their hand in doing so.

The ministry’s Sopheak said there was a planned $90 million higher education improvement project, but the funding is pending approval by the World Bank. If approved, the project would start in July.

“For this project, we focus on [the] quality of teaching and learning,” he said, adding that it would also look to strengthen governance as the ministry wants universities to be fully autonomous.

San Chey, executive director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said he believes higher education needs to undergo robust reform due to its long history of poor quality, especially among private institutions.

Career counselling is also needed at the high school level, and there needs to be more guidance on accessing higher education, he said. Students, he added, currently just follow their friends’ decision on what majors to choose.

“It happens from year to year,” he said. “It leads to the wrong decision for the students. This is a problem.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting