For the many Cambodian youths who do not follow the traditional path to higher education, more educational alternatives are cropping up to prepare them for Cambodia’s job market in the ASEAN Economic Community.
From 2008-2012, just 43 percent of Cambodians completed primary school, according to a UNICEF report.
More investment in education is necessary, according to Keara Phann, founding director at Pannasastra University of Cambodia in Siem Reap.
“We need to invest in people. If the leadership of the government has a vision of how they want the next generation to grow up, to compete in ASEAN, they need to prepare the youth now. We have some international investment, but the change needs to come from the top,” Mr. Keara said.
Last week, Banteay Meanchey provincial governor Kosum Sareut presided over a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a new technical educational training center.
For Cambodian students who do not get a secondary school diploma, technical training allows them to learn a skill that makes them more attractive to potential employers.
The center will benefit youth from the province’s nine districts, and its construction is being funded by the South East Asia Prayer Center-Cambodia (SEAPC-C), according to a report by news agency AKP.
SEAPC-C also runs an orphanage and school in Rongkor Village, Chamnorm Commune, Mongkol Borey District in Banteay Meanchey.
Their Arise School currently has eight campuses and serves 3,500 local students.
The Christian organization has implemented a curriculum, “based on the Lord’s Prayer and biblical principles of science and mathematics.”
SEAPC-C is set to expand their schools into every school district of Banteay Meanchey.
If the organization can raise the $1.1 million needed, they will begin an expansion plan that sees them ultimately with 488 campuses and 126,000 students across the province.
In another push for technical training, Common Grounds Learning Center will offer computer literacy courses starting next year for poor and low-income young adults.