A total of 9,130 full scholarships are being offered by 39 state and private higher education institutions for the 2020-2021 academic year.

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport urged students – all of whom have been allowed to skip Grade 12 national exams – to rush to apply for these seats.

A press release from the ministry detailed apportionment of the scholarships into four groups, prioritising an allocation of 1,324 seats to female students, 1,738 to poor students and 578 to students from remote areas with the remaining 5,490 seats to be awarded to general students.

The ministry announced that students who excel at mathematics, physics and Khmer literature would be automatically entitled to scholarships from the general group if they choose to major in one of those subjects.

In certain cases, students may be entitled to special consideration based on hardships. Applicants who have lost a parent may attach a death certificate, or those whose parents have divorced may include a court decision.

Disabled students who apply to study a primary subject at universities will automatically be granted a scholarship from the group of seats for general allocation.

Ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha encouraged students to hurry in submitting applications, noting that late applicants would lose the opportunity to other candidates.

On December 30 last year, education minister Hang Chuon Naron instructed all eligible students to select their preferred majors and apply to institutions of higher learning in a timely manner.

The ministry explained that each institution would select students to award scholarships to in accordance with the determined apportionment of seats, and interested applicants may consult a pamphlet published by the ministry for details.

Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association president Ouk Chhayavy said the ministry should instead provide scholarships to students according to the demonstrable needs of the institutions which are seeking new students.

“If the ministry would do this, students could easily choose and apply for scholarships at the institutions where they want to continue their studies,” she said.