The Royal University of Phnom Penh, the Royal University of Fine Arts, and the National Institute of Education inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Monday, agreeing to establish a joint higher education social sciences and humanities research institute.
Minister of Education, Youth and Sport, Hang Chuon Naron, presided over the MoU signing ceremony, saying that the institute will become a hub for research in social science and humanities in Cambodia, and is an opportunity for students to access high-quality lessons in the social sciences.
He said there is a lack of researchers in Cambodia, something he hoped the institute would rectify.
“This MoU shows the willingness of these institutions to cooperate with one another, which is an indication of how important this institute will be in future."
“Cambodia needs experts in the social sciences, arts and literature, languages, history, geography, and philosophy. These areas are a positive way to improve national identification and culture,” Chuon Naron said.
The ministry, he said, is also committed to investing in the sciences, pointing to the construction of new buildings dedicated to the study of science at the Royal University of Phnom Penh and the Institute of Technology of Cambodia.
Ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha called the MoU “very important” as the new research centre would “improve research and innovation in human and social sciences in Cambodia”.
In the short run, said Soveacha, the centre will act as a platform for the three universities to promote the Kingdom’s research on the international stage while in the long run, it will improve the culture of research in human and social sciences, through education and research infrastructure.
Affiliated Network for Social Accountability CEO San Chey said Cambodia had experienced a decline in research in recent history, so the establishment of this new research institute was a vital development that reflected the current needs of Cambodian society.
“I think that establishing this research centre is very important and necessary to meet the demands of social development,” he said, adding that it was imperative that all the research produced was balanced and independent.