Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Heng Sour stated that technical and vocational education training (TVET) serves as a bridge for young people to develop simple skills which can be combined and form a foundation for further studies in college.

Sour made the remarks during a meeting with over 1,000 TVET students from poor and at-risk families on February 24 at the National Polytechnic Institute Techo Sen in Kandal province, as reported by the ministry.

The minister explained that in the Cambodian system, general education spans from kindergarten to grade 12.

He said the Constitution mandates that the state provide general education up to at least diploma level (grade 9).

“The International Labour Convention states that 15-year-olds have the right to work in a non-hazardous manner. Therefore, our Constitution ensures that individuals are able to study up to grade 9. The provision is in place because if they are unable to continue their education due to family problems, they can still find employment,” he stated.

Sour added that this is why the government has prioritised vocational training programmes as a key political policy, offering an additional educational option for people to learn and acquire applicable technical skills. 

“Therefore, young people face two choices upon reaching grade 9: to continue to high school or to pursue TVET. However, some of you may not have completed grade 9 due to family issues. We recognise our responsibility towards the future of our youth,” Sour stated.

Tep Oeun, director of the National Institute of Business (NIB), commented on February 25 that the institute is focusing on training young people in five key skills. 

He noted that graphic design and administrative services are the most popular choices among these students.

“These skills are in demand in the job market and can be studied over a short period, allowing students to find employment gradually,” he said.

He added that the institute is currently training 269 students under the TVET programme, aimed at assisting 1.5 million young people from poor and vulnerable households. Of these, 122 students use an IDPoor card. 

According to Oeun, the institute offers three study shifts from Monday to Sunday and continues to accept new students daily in five majors: graphic design, administrative services, computer administration, human resources (HR) and sales skills.