Higher Education Institutions Care Only about Profit while the Accreditation Committee of Cambodia for Assessing the Quality of Education at the Council of Ministers Is Asleep – Wednesday, 29.7.2009

Posted on 30 July 2009. Filed under: Week 623 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 623

Note:

The Accreditation Committee of Cambodia is to be a national independent higher education quality assessment body. It was established in March 2003 under the supervision of the Council of Ministers, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, to develop standards of education in Cambodia.

Khmer Amatak had conducted research at state and private higher education institutions after the Prime Minister of the Royal Government of Cambodia, Mr. Hun Sen, had voiced his concern that higher education does not have much quality, but the institutions are more concerned with quantity, and he blamed some universities to have poor management, especially over the quality of education required and set up by the Ministry of Education.

Khmer Amatak noticed that the quality of education at universities is still a major problem, even though there is a directive from Prime Minister Hun Sen. Khmer Amatak found some specific problems: most universities do not require their students to do assignments, and graduate assignments are written by hiring other people to do it, sometimes students are not required to defend their assignment results, lecturers offer the students’ test answers in advance, some students, especially those who are civil servants, attend classes irregularly and use different means to bribe their lectures so that they understand them, some lecturers do not have enough experience and teaching skills, some lecturers do not have sufficient time to do research, as they work also as civil servants, or they have to teach many sessions at different universities. Khmer Amatak found some other problems, like that the Ministry of Education does not conduct regular educational quality assessments at different higher education institutions, or pretends not to see the problem.

“A student of the Norton University of Law, who asked not to be named, told Khmer Amatak that lecturers give students’ test questions before the exam, so that the students can prepare the answers. This student complained that they are not happy with such activities of their lecturers, because at the end there are no real exams, but just copying of lessons. This student added that they are hard working, obey discipline, and want to show their real ability through fair exams, because the results will prove their real ability and pride. Most students of this university are disappointed with the management committee, and especially with the rector for not taking any thorough measures to ensure the quality of education. They asked the board of directors of this university to strengthen the quality of education by checking the lecturers’ capacity, and posing strict discipline on lecturers and on students.

“The president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, Mr. Rong Chhun, issued a statement expressing serious concerns over the quality of the recent Grade 9 examinations. In this 2009 Grade 9 examinations, more than 91% of students passed. Mr. Rong Chhun criticized that this results does not reflect real quality. He blamed the Ministry of Education for lowering the passing scores from 250 points to only 230 points; moreover, the examinations were conducted poorly, like the contents of some exam papers were known and distributed ahead of the examinations, and observers were bribed by students. He asked to abolish the poorly conducted Grade 9 examinations, and requested to take only the semesters’ results and the students’ attendance records instead. To do so would save more than US$2 million, which could be used to increase the teachers’ salaries. What he had requested had been rejected by officials of the Ministry of Education.

Khmer Amatak is also observing the Grade 12 examinations [at present in their third day]. Mr. Rong Chhun said that there have been many irregularities. Students are allowed to bring with them papers they use for cheating in their examination rooms, students bribe examination observers, so that their cheating papers are not seized and that they are allowed to call outside to ask for help or for answers for their examinations, the bribes are low or high, depending on the subjects etc… He added that the Ministry of Education does not strictly implement the ordinances and the laws about the education system, and on education officials or observers. So far, there has not been any reaction from the Ministry of Education over what he has mentioned.

“Retired education officials voiced their opinion to Khmer Amatak, saying that Cambodia is encountering an education slowdown, since the quality of education in Cambodia has not responded to the quality standards required by the international labor market. According to a report by the United Nations International Labor Organization in 2007, among 10,000 Khmer graduating students each year, only 10% can find jobs. The same report showed that between 300,000 and 400,000 young graduating students are seeking jobs. According to the observation of the UN program and the national development strategic plan of Cambodia for 2006 to 2010, there is the highest rate of graduating young people ever, creating specific opportunities and challenges in Cambodia. Cambodia will have to face severe problems at the labor market for young people seeking jobs, and it is estimated that within five more years, the number of young people hunting for jobs will increase over 300,000. While Cambodia is already encountering serious problems at the labor market to absorb the young people, the number of young unemployed people will be more than the total growth of the labor force. Therefore this is a potential contributing to social instability, if there are no solutions.

“Does the Royal Government of Prime Minister Hun Sen have specific measures to strengthen the state and the private higher education? Education analysts expressed the concern that if the Royal Government does not take strict actions, the quality of education in Cambodia will fall into a deep crisis, and it will be difficult to restore the situation to normals as most educational institutions care only about profits. This analyst asked the Royal Government to check the operation of the national Accreditation Committee of Cambodia for educational quality assessment administered by the Council of Ministers, which so far does not take any action. In addition, the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport has to conduct a thorough assessment of the education programs of all universities.

“A civil society official said that the Royal Government should consider the appointment of leaders of educational institutions, especially of those from the private sector, with persons of high positions in the government, making it difficult to do any real assessment.” Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #630, 29.7.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #248, 29.7.2009

  • Former Kandal Market Director and [Daun Penh] District Governor Signed a Permission to Allow [private electricity] Producers to Operate, Violating a Directive by the Municipal Governor
  • Two Foreigners [a Chinese American and a Pakistani] Were Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Drug Smuggling

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2008, 29.7.2009

  • The [Cambodian] Government Will Open a New International Border Crossing near the Preah Vihear Temple [5 km to the east of the temple, and the former border crossing will be closed forever – while the Thai government sees no reason to change the historical access route which was used for centuries and build new infrastructure]
  • A Man and His Wife, Who Killed a Family [of three] by Cutting Their Throats Were Sentenced to Life Imprisonment [Phnom Penh]
  • Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen Granted an Audience to the New Ambassador of the Russian Federation [Mr. Alexander I. Ignatov]
  • [Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] Hor Namhong: Russia Is a Good Friend That Has Helped Cambodia after the Pol Pot Regime; Twenty Five Khmer Students Receive Scholarships to Study in Russia Every Year

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #456, 29.7.2009

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian and former Minister of Women’s Affairs] Mu Sochua Will Be Accompanied by Many Supporters to Go to Listen to the Judgment [on 4 August 2009, as a result of the Prime Minister’s defamation lawsuit against her]
  • The Krakor District Authorities in Pursat Warned [two] Forest Protection Activists [who collected thumbprints of citizens to request the government to ban logging and forest clearance by private companies – the list with thumbprints was confiscated]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6714, 29.7.2009

  • [Four] Women and a Man Were Arrested and Nearly 1 kg of Heroin Was Confiscated [Phnom Penh – the arrested persons are from Nigeria and from Sierra Leone)]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1760, 29.7.2009

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mr. Son Chhay: The Government Is Creating a National Airline while Losing National Values [Cambodia cannot run a national airline on its own, it cooperates with a Vietnamese company]
  • [The spokesperson of the Council of Minister] Phay Siphan Called the Demand to Revise the Listing of the Preah Vihear Temple [by a member of the Thai Royal family] an Insult against the Thai King [as it was against the decision of the Thai King]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

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