The Royal University of Phnom Penh Campus. © Leng Len / Wikimedia Commons

Cambodia: IIEP brings its expertise to Higher Education sector

The higher education (HE) sector in Cambodia is currently confronted with major policy challenges. The sector is expanding rapidly and (with enrolment doubling in only five years) it needs more funds for development. The organization and governance structure of the HE sector is highly fragmented, with some 101 (mostly small) higher education institutions (HEIs), which are managed by 14 different ministries. At the same time, governance and management remain rather centralized. This expansion of the HE sector is also creating new challenges, such as graduate unemployment and the need to rapidly improve quality within the context of the current move in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) for regional integration by 2015. As a consequence, the country’s forthcoming Education Sector Plan, currently being prepared, will place more emphasis on the development of secondary and higher education, as well as introducing a number of reforms in the HE sector.

IIEP fosters understanding between policy-makers and academics

IIEP’s work in the country is being conducted as part of its ongoing capacity development project for the Cambodian education sector, supported by UNICEF, the European Union, and the Swedish International Development Agency (see more on this project). A workshop was conducted from 7 to 13 September 2013 at the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) to share the findings from several IIEP training and research projects and discuss higher education reform, policy, and planning. Both higher education planners and policy-makers from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS), as well as academics from RUPP who are either teaching these subjects or in managerial positions, took part to the workshop. This event was also the opportunity to initiate a discussion between the participants and the IIEP experts on selected policy and planning issues currently of concern to the Cambodian Government, as well as to initiate a discussion between both policy-makers/planners and academics.
The workshop has fostered an increased understanding among Cambodian policy-makers of international reform trends and policy options in higher education. It has also established communication between national policy-makers and academics on policy options in the reform of higher education. Finally, it has contributed to the strengthening of capacity to analyse issues related to higher education policy and planning in the graduate programme in education at RUPP.