To help students identify their interests and discover their true talents, the University of Puthisastra (UP) recently hosted the Discovery Festival, an interdisciplinary event involving many university departments including health science and technology. The event was organised by The Idea Company.
Leanna Payne, a communications consultant at UP and one of the organisers of the event, said most high schools don’t have adequate health science and technology facilities, so students can’t properly evaluate these fields as possible career choices. If a student has never touched a microscope or entered a computer lab, how will they know if these are fields they might enjoy or want to pursue? The aim of the festival was to address this problem, she said.
Ms Payne said the festival “brought laboratory equipment, medical simulations, virtual reality systems, and many other great tools and facilities to students; they were able to come and decide what they’re really passionate about. In an associated event on Oct 2-6, the University of Puthisastra will hold Discovery Week, during which students can go to campus and see real equipment, including “large computer servers”.
Lao Eanghun, 16, a student at Chea Sim Tbeng Mean Chey High School in Preah Vihear province, said that the various booths and workshops at the festival had helped her narrow her
focus down to doing laboratory science.
“The event taught me a lot about Khmer history, blood pressure, blood groups, experiments on bacteria, and so forth. But I was most interested in the laboratory work, as I like doing experiments to understand how diseases function,” Ms Eanghun said.
Ms Eanghun added that she believed participating in the Discovery Festival could be beneficial for all students who have just completed their Grade 12 examinations. She said it could guide them and show them a path toward fulfilling their potential. She planned to participate in Discovery Week at the UP campus in order to further clarify her goals.
Seng Chandara, 21, a student of telecommunications engineering at Royal University of Phnom Penh, said that although the event was targeted at high school students, he still saw it as a learning opportunity. He said the booths set up at the festival offered general knowledge on topics
such as history, technology and science.
“With the help of technology, Cambodia is now moving toward development, yet we must have a basic knowledge of our history to ensure we keep moving forward. We have to know not only why [something great like] Angkor Wat was achieved; we can learn from both the successes and the mistakes of the past,” Mr Chandara said.
He recommended that all students who have just graduated from high school join this or similar events. Doing so could help them get a clearer idea of where their potential lies, and help them choose the best university and department to make the most of it. This will improve their chances of success in life,