Higher Education

Considerable progress has been made in Higher Education between 2009 and 2013 with student enrollments increasing to 207,000 and students receiving scholarships to 4,200. Increasingly higher education institutions (HEI) are meeting agreed minimum standards through the HEI Accreditation System. The Directorate General for Higher Education team and HEIs have built their capacity to strengthen planning and monitoring, manage research grants and scholarships and so absorb more funds for programs expansion. The Accreditation Committee of Cambodia (ACC) has gained a strong capacity to manage and operate the accreditation system. A research culture has begun to emerge through the implementation of an innovative research grant program and there is now stronger regional cooperation, collaboration and jointly implemented activities. A number of key policy actions have been taken including the approval of the Research Policy Master Plan, a Royal Decree on Professor ranking and the preparation of the Higher Education Vision 2030. The establishment of the Higher Education Technical Working Group has been an important milestone in establishing a forum for debate and discussion on higher education issues. A major challenge for the coming years will be to address the mismatch between the needs of the labor market in terms of skills, critical thinking ability and knowledge and the current products on the market. This will require better understanding of the labor market, better coordination and links with industry and better information for students so they can select appropriate courses. Maintaining high quality programs, internationally acceptable certification within an affordable pricing structure is also a challenge. Further work and increased resources will be required to ensure that more talented students from disadvantaged backgrounds can access higher education through scholarship programs or possibly student loan schemes. The Government has recognized the importance of providing opportunities in higher education and the importance to assuring relevance and quality. ASEAN integration will provide opportunities for collaboration between institutions, joint research and quality standard setting.