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High Schools Underprepared for High Tech: Expert

  • Pich Samnang
  • VOA Khmer

Khmer Unicode keyboard.

Khmer Unicode keyboard.

When it comes to information technology curriculum, high schools have a long way to go.

“The lack of electricity and computer sets in schools is a main obstacle for the implementation of the use of ICT in senior high school education,” Kheng Piseth, Khmer OS program manager at the Open Institute, told “Hello VOA” on Monday.

“How can students be obliged to learn the ICT without those facilities?” he said. “It’s useless.”

In 2009, the Ministry of Education began developing an information communication technology, or ICT, program as a new subject for students in grades 11 and 12. The hope was to equip them with skills for their advanced education.

The new program was initially planned to kick off later this year. But only 80 of the nation's 383 high schools have computer access—with only 25 computers in some and only one in others—according to government figures. Only about half of the schools have electricity.

Meanwhile, around 100,000 students are enrolled in high schools across the country.

The ministry acknowledges its scheme has been hard to achieve in the short run.

“We cannot expect to implement it soon,” said Sok Tha, head of the ministry's ICT education department, who is in charge of the new subject. “But we may start the new subject as an alternative subject for students whose schools are already electrified and equipped with computers.”

Kheng Piseth said it is a good idea to start teaching ICT in already-equipped schools, but he added that all the necessary infrastructure for the new program should be ensured.

“Students with strong ICT skills are more likely to enter job markets than those without them,” he said.