Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - 'Brilliant' Buddhist students

'Brilliant' Buddhist students

'Brilliant' Buddhist students

Buddhism in Cambodia has bounced back from near total suppression by the ultra-communist Khmer Rouge to resume its role as a cornerstone of the Kingdom’s education system, driving students to excellence on both spiritual and more mundane levels, according to one senior monk.

Venerable Samdech Preah Mahasomethea Thipadey Nun Nget, the 84-year-old director of all Buddhist schools in Cambodia, said the concentration and moral strength Buddhism encourages often translates into more impressive academic performances than a purely secular education provides.

“The degrees from Buddhist schools are the equivalent of degrees from public schools but, based on my own observations, even though the degrees are the same, the monks are much more brilliant than common students,” Nget said.

“Monk-students are more industrious, spend more time working and are more moral than students in common schools. Therefore, it is rare that monk-students fail the exams needed to graduate from high school or university,” he added.

According to a 2007 annual report by the Ministry of Cults and Religions, Cambodia has 549 Buddhist primary schools with 12,174 monks, 26 Buddhist secondary schools with 6,200 monks, and two Buddhist universities with 977 students. In addition, there are 726 “discipline schools” that teach dharma classes to a further 13,612 monks.

The schools follow largely the same curriculum as secular schools but include studies in the traditional Buddhist languages Pali and Sanskrit.

Nget said that since 1993 about 300 monks have gained scholarships to study Sanskrit and English literature at universities in other countries with strong Buddhist traditions.

“Last year, three monks gained scholarships to earn their master’s degrees in India, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar, while another eight monks went to study in Japan,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh

  • Monks given ‘Samdech’ title for contributions

    Three senior monks on Thursday were given the highest-ranking title “samdech”, with Prime Minister Hun Sen saying that the promotions were due to their contributions to Buddhism. The three distinguished monks were promoted on Thursday morning at Botum Vatey pagoda in Phnom Penh, at a

  • Facing possible sanctions, PM criticises Washington’s rights record

    While United States congressmen are discussing the Cambodia Democracy Act and an amendment that could impose more sanctions against Cambodia’s government, Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday counterattacked by questioning the respect of human rights and democracy under the US-backed Lon Nol regime, and