The Ministry of Post and Telecommunications announced a letter writing contest for students aged 9-15. The competition will allow them to show their off their creativity and writing talent, and promote an understanding of Cambodian postal services, and how to use them.

The ministry said in an April 8 notice that this will be the first competition of its kind. It will be held under the theme “Write a letter to an influential person about why and how to take action on climate change”.

The winner will receive an allowance and be selected as a representative of Cambodia in other international-level competitions organised by the Universal Postal Union – a specialised UN agency that coordinates postal policies among member nations, in addition to the worldwide postal system.

According to the notice, contestants should be Cambodians aged 9-15 who are able to compose a handwritten letter of no more than 800 words, or two pages, in both Khmer and English. Candidates must submit their application forms and letters via Registered Mail of the Cambodia Post office – which will be free of charge to entrants. They can also send their work via private express service to the ministry’s headquarters – located on Monivong Blvd in Sras Chak commune of the capital’s Daun Penh district – no later than April 19.

“The selection will go through two processes. First, the text submitted for the competition will be evaluated and scored based on creativity, art of writing and content. Then the ten highest ranked candidates will be invited to give a presentation about the contents of their letters on April 25,” the notice said.

The ministry warned that letters found to contain plagiarism, whether in part or in full, will not be evaluated, and those sent beyond the deadline will not be accepted.

Sok Lak, co-founder of Scholar Library, said that the participation of the postal ministry makes a significant contribution to the popularity of writing, and will encourage members of the younger generation to communicate through writing.

“This competition will motivate people to employ the postal service more, both in Cambodia and around the world. I hope that this will also drive the postal service, which is not always totally reliable, to improve its services,” he said.

He said writing skills are already taught in schools, but when institutions outside the education sector also promote it, students may focus more on it and improve their written communication.