Students at Limkokwing University are preparing to meet the challenges
of a globalised environment by combining the best of the East with the
Students at the Limkokwing University campus in Phnom Penh say their unique education will help them compete in a globalised environment.
For students at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology (LUCT), the university is not just an educational institution - it's a state of mind.
With some 30,000 students from over 140 countries studying across its ten institutions, LUCT prides itself, as its founder Tan Sri Dato' Dr Lim Kok Wing explains, on a philosophy of merging the best of the East and the West into a truly global university.
"The education systems of the West have created the world as it is today," the renowned Malaysian entrepreneur said.
"But going beyond that, it's about thinking and feeling, not just about technology anymore. Understanding of the East and knowing how to do well in the East is important. It has always been a case of someone from the East going to the West - but the reverse must now happen, so people from the West know more about the East. The two must come together."
In the 18 years since it was founded in Kuala Lumpur, the university has expanded to four continents with campuses in Malaysia, Botswana, Lesotho, China, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, the US and, most recently, Cambodia.
Creativity, innovation and its novel concept of "indusity" - an amalgamation of university and industry - is the cornerstone of the LUCT mission and, Lim Kok Wing claims, has produced students able to think outside the box so they "will never be jobless...and will gain respect from anybody they meet, regardless of the colour of their skin."
Judging by testimonials of students at the year-old Phnom-Penh campus, this enthusiasm is catching on.
William Nicoll-Ford, 17, who enrolled in Foundation Studies, was finishing school in Scotland when he found the place on the web.
You have the opportunity to take from every single continent – to use the world as your resource.
"And from then on I just couldn't think of anywhere else I'd want to be," Nicoll-Ford said. "It's one thing to just study at uni, it's another thing to live the university."
Chhy Daly, 18, a Cambodian student in architectural technology, agreed.
"It's not just an education, it's a whole lifestyle," he said. "It's different from most Asian universities which follow the Confucius system of obeying the orders of your seniors."
For both local and international students, LUCT was a contrast to their previous educational experiences.
"When I was in high-school, I learnt only from a textbook, and then took the exam," said Cambodian Kov Sopanha, 17, who is studying Foundation Studies. "But here it's not just about learning from a book."
Cambodian Sok Visalbrosith, 18, an interior design student, said the learning process was about exchanging ideas with lecturers. "You get a real-life experience by doing your assignment. Not just theory, but also practice."
That the LUCT website receives hits from 188 countries - or, as Lim Kok Wing says, from practically the entire world - is testament to the popularity of its global ethos.
"I came here because of the international possibilities," said Cambodian student of international business, Chan Raksmey, 18.
"Here we can exchange ideas with other cultures and learn more."
Nicoll-Ford agrees: "At LUCT you have the opportunity to take from every single continent - to use the world as your resource - it's mind-blowing."
And in the spirit of LUCT's motto ‘the best of both worlds', he claimed in Cambodia he was seeing the best of Asian culture and things that were positive and negative within himself.
As well as mobilising global talent, LUCT claims to bring skills to developing societies where they are needed.
"There is a need for some of us to move very quickly into a 21st century mindset, to train students to compete in a globalised environment," Lim Kok Wing explained.
The dearth of skilled professionals has been felt by leaders in Cambodian industry. "There is a real lack in marketing," said Denis Gambade, general manager of the Franco-Cambodian Chamber of Commerce. "In marketing you need someone who shows creativity and initiative, which are not the strong points of Cambodians."
But LUCT Phnom Penh students appear to share their founders' confidence in meeting the challenges. "I really hope we can incorporate LUCT learning into our country to build a beautiful Cambodia," Chhy Daly said.