Prime Minister Hun Sen will provide thousands of students with “Techo Digital Talent Scholarships” in 2023 through the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications for Bachelor’s, Master’s and doctoral degree programmes and for training courses for civil servants in digital skills in order to increase work efficiency, according to public works ministry.

The ministry said in a November 28 press release that the scholarship programme has been running since 2020, with 250 students selected from among the most outstanding students across the country. The digital talent scholarship programme now plans to offer additional scholarships on digital skills, including Bachelor’s, Master’s and doctoral degrees.

“We will provide 300-500 Bachelor’s, Master’s and doctoral degree scholarships at domestic and foreign educational institutions at home and abroad as well as training for 1,000-2,000 professionals in digital skills for three months to 1 year. We will also provide training courses for 2,000-5,000 civil servants in digital skills for increasing work efficiency,” according to the ministry.

The ministry added that at the closing ceremony of the extraordinary general assembly of the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia (UYFC) on November 27, Hun Many also encouraged the training of skilled human resources, especially in digital technology.

“By seeing the success of the scholarship programme, as well as to provide opportunities for high school graduates, civil servants, employees of public and private institutions and the public to gain more knowledge and capacity building in digital technology skills, the Techo Digital Talent Scholarship plans to provide more scholarships this year,” the ministry continued.

Chy Socheata, programme manager at Agile Development Group (ADG), told The Post on November 28 that she strongly supported the digital scholarship programme.

She said that, today, digital knowledge has great potential in all sectors, whether in business management, public and private institutions or other areas of industry and that if people have digital skills it will make their work smoother and faster.

“When we have digital skills, we increase our potential. Presently, jobs require these skills to move work forward. Even most of the meetings we do now do not involve meeting face-to-face. We meet online, so even that requires some digital skills knowledge. Even if you do not know these skills really well, you at least need to know how to enter a virtual meeting or use email,” she said.

She continued that at present, digital knowledge skills training for people with disabilities remains very limited because the provision of scholarships or digital training to them is not yet widespread, which may require additional scholarships targeted at that group.

Socheata also said that so far, through her organisation, 47 people with disabilities have been trained in three levels of digital skills: basic, intermediate and advanced courses, all of which are helpful for them to be able to engage in meaningful work.

At the graduation ceremony for students at the University of Puthisastra on August 17, Prime Minister Hun Sen said that Cambodia has kept pace with the development of digital and information technologies, which enabled students to study online during the Covid-19 pandemic.

He also reiterated that civil servants who do not know how to use information technology will not be promoted or appointed to other positions.