Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron wants the country to increase its digital knowledge, starting by improving the quality of teachers and their awareness of modern technology.
He was speaking at the Cambodian Korea Cooperation Centre in Phnom Penh yesterday about what he called Cambodia Industry 4.0.
“If Cambodia wants to move to a digital economy, we have to prepare our human resources for a digital world and our knowledge of it,” he said. “If we do not have enough human resources, we cannot take advantages from technology and digital breakthroughs. Then, what we can do is just use the low quality and poor technology and this won’t help develop the economy. Therefore, qualified human resources are very important.”
Mr Naron argued that digital education aims to use technology to solve economic issues and social problems in the context of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR)”. Mr Naron said educational literacy has to change in the 21st century.
“We do not know what the future will be in the digital world, but we have to provide the foundation for the students to make them able to research for themselves and to know how to solve problems, so the important thing is that the youths’ attitude must change positively in such areas as discipline, critical thinking and use those skills and knowledge along with teamwork to solve the problems of society,” he said.
He insisted that Cambodia can leapfrog to 4IR. The first industrial revolution was water and steam-powered mechanical manufacturing, followed by the introduction of electric powered mass production based on the division of power, then came the revolution using electronics and the further automation of manufacturing. Now we are in the era of cyber-physical systems.
“We are setting the target to improve and develop the teaching quality in order to bring Cambodian education up-to-date digitally,” he said. “In 2020, we will focus on digital education but we have to have a solid foundation in all education.”
The Education Ministry has already done much in the past five years such as reforming and improving the curriculum and boosting educational quality as well as enhancing the quality of teachers and educational assessments.
Mr Naron said investment is needed to get the job done.
“If there is no right investment with the right targets for education, digital education is just a dream,” he noted.
Dav Ansan, executive director of Cambodia Development Centre, said Cambodia’s population is overwhelmingly young adults and they can adapt to the digital world and technology more easily.
“Digital rather than cash in Cambodian society has been increasing, as have online activities, so the CDC believes that Cambodia is capable of adapting to further digital transformation and the Industry Revolution 4.0,” Mr Dav said.
The government has formed an inter-ministry committee to work on compiling draft frameworks for its digital economy and digital government policies.
According to a statement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on September 25, the committee is chaired by Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth and has 25 members who are ministers and secretaries of state of relevant ministries and institutions.
The committee is assigned to work mainly on compiling and drafting the digital economic and digital policy frameworks for submission to the government to check for approval.