By 2027 all of Cambodia will have internet access throughout the country, while the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications is now working with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport to study a pilot project to deploy public internet services to schools across the country to make it easier for students to study online, according to telecoms Minister Chea Vandeth.
Vandeth was speaking at an August 4 press conference on his ministry’s achievements of the past five years, organised by the Government Spokesperson Unit.
“We have now studied three provinces – Takeo, Kandal and Kampong Speu – in order to connect fiber-optic cables from the district hubs out to all of the communes. This means that all communes can then provide broadband internet to their schools,” he said.
He noted that whether it is a high school or primary school – or the commune hall, health centre or police station – all of those facilities will be equipped with internet service. And when the internet reaches the commune, private companies will rent bandwidth on the networks infrastructure to operate as internet service providers at low prices in accordance with the ministry’s guidelines.
“So, by 2027, we'll have the internet in every commune across the country. When there is this internet network, it will help our schools because we want better online learning for students in the countryside to be able to study because where there is the network, they can learn,” he said.
Vandeth continued that online learning had improved the quality of students' education. Citing an example, he said that in the 2020-2021 academic year, only 500 students had earned "A" grades, while in the 2021-2022 academic year more than 1,700 students had earned "A" grades with the results attributed to what the students had learned online.
“I asked a lot of teachers in some districts in the countryside, and they answered that the “A” grade students are the most gifted. Before the exams, the students hoped to pass the A and B-level exams with any passing score, but when they came to take the exam this time they really nailed it,” he added.
Vandeth also said that the number of “A” grade students in the countryside had increased because they had opportunities to learn online with skilled tutors in Phnom Penh through online sessions coordinated by the education ministry.
Before online learning, the students had to come and study in person in order to get the benefit of lessons from the best teachers in Phnom Penh, but now they can stay in the countryside and can study with any teacher online – even teachers in the US or Europe – so the possibilities for improving education through technology are endless.
Education ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said: “We have continued to cooperate with the telecoms ministry and stakeholders to increase internet connections at public schools according to our capabilities and their practical needs.”