The Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) and the South Korea-based University of Seoul (UoS) have jointly launched an urban planning education faculty in Cambodia, aiming to meet current and future demand for human capital in urban planning and development within the Kingdom and beyond.
RUPP held the launch of the new Department of Sustainable Urban Planning and Development (DSUPD) at the Cambodia-Korea Cooperation Centre (CKCC) at its campus on August 16.
The establishment of the faculty is expected to make a significant contribution to resolving various socio-economic challenges facing rapidly urbanising Cambodian cities.
As its slogan “Shape your city smart, shape your future smarter” indicates, DSUPD aims to foster leading urban planners through a state-of-the-art training programme. The first cohort of 40 freshmen will be recruited next year, with the majority of them being beneficiaries of a scholarship programme, according to a joint press release.
Rath Sethik, dean of the RUPP’s Faculty of Development Studies, said the establishment of the DSUPD was inspired by the strong demand for human capital and to deal with the rapid spread of unsustainable urban growth in all urban centers of Cambodia.
“The challenge of establishing the department was in itself a learning process in which many legal, technical and institutional structures were needed,” he said.
He said the process began in early 2021, when working groups from his development studies faculty and the UoS’ International School of Urban Sciences were formally established. The groups held bi-monthly meetings to assess the best options for establishing the programme.
“I wish to thank all participants, but I especially want to thank the UoS president, whose team is strongly committed and understand our intentions in establishing this department and the programme. Without their support, it would have been impossible,” he said.
“From our side, we are deeply grateful to our rector for his guidance and vision. I wish to conclude that establishing the department has been a great learning process. We wish to see strong and qualified human capital cultivated through this programme, and hope to see them working in urban centres across the Kingdom and the region,” he added.
UoS president Soon-takSuh extended his congratulations and assured that the university would lend continuous support by sharing urban development policies from South Korea as well as urban planning techniques combined with information and communication technology (ICT) such as big data and artificial intelligence with Phnom Penh.
The department was created as part of the “Leading University for International Cooperation” project sponsored by the South Korean education ministry. Cambodia’s Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport officially approved its foundation on May 25.
The “Leading University for International Cooperation” project is slated to run for seven years from 2021 to 2028. UoS will continue to forge closer ties with RUPP, assisting it to build an appropriate infrastructure for a quality learning environment.