Twenty bright high school students this past weekend were awarded SmartEdu scholarships, which includes tuition fees and monthly allowances for the duration of their university studies.
Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron and Chun Vat, head of the secretariat of the Capacity Building and R&D Fund, presided over a ceremony for the students.
“As we congratulate and welcome the next cohort of SmartEdu scholars at the beginning of their university education journey it is delightful to see our very first group of SmartEdu scholars here today – looking a few years older but ready to face the working world,” Smart Axiata CEO Thomas Hundt said.
“Giving young Cambodians from less fortunate backgrounds the opportunity to pursue further education is a real honour for us at Smart and shows how we move boundaries by reaching out also to the less fortunate to help uncover talent as well as skills that they might otherwise never know of,” Mr Hundt added.
This is the fourth cohort of high school students who have been offered SmartEdu scholarships since 2016. Seventy Cambodian students are now part of the programme with scholarships worth up to $15,000 each.
The programme started with 10 scholarships, but quickly expanded in 2017 with support for 10 additional scholars wanting to pursue their studies at the National Institute of Posts, Telecoms and ICT through Smart’s contribution towards the government’s Capacity Building and R&D Fund. Scholars from cohort one will graduate next summer, ready to embark on successful careers.
Previous SmartEdu scholarship recipients were on hand to congratulate and welcome the 20 new scholars. They were then whisked away with other scholars to the SmartEdu Induction Camp at Kirirom Resort after the ceremony.
The camp is part of a three-day programme offering workshops on creative and critical thinking, communication and other important business skills to get them ready for university and the job market.
The SmartEdu Scholarship Programme also offers scholars mentorship and other opportunities to develop their skills by attending development programs as well as taking part in Smart’s CSR outreach. Successful SmartEdu scholars will be offered employment at Smart after completing their university degrees.
“The SmartEdu Scholarship Programme does not only provide me with tuition fees and monthly stipends but also offers me chances to be involved in many other initiatives. The SmartEdu Induction Camp presents me a platform to have professional mentors and bridges me closer to my future job after I graduate in June. I look forward to giving back to society with Smart,” said Luy Lysieng, SmartEdu Scholar Cohort one.
The SmartEdu Scholarship Programme is part of the tripartite Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2018 by Smart with the Ministry of Education. Through the MoU, Smart was committed to investing $1.5 million into two SmartEdu programmes – the Scholarship Programme and the University Student Development Programme.