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Private Universities Growing, Unevenly: Researcher

  • Im Sothearith
  • VOA Khmer

Teng Somongkol, a PhD candidate at Minnesota University who is researching Cambodian academic institutions, told “Hello VOA” Monday.

Teng Somongkol, a PhD candidate at Minnesota University who is researching Cambodian academic institutions, told “Hello VOA” Monday.

In the last 10 years, a number of private universities have sprung up in Cambodia. And while their quality often surpasses Cambodian state institutions, they remain uneven, Teng Somongkol, a PhD candidate at Minnesota University who is researching Cambodian academic institutions, told “Hello VOA” Monday.

Private universities have grown rapidly and sporadically, he said, but their quality is generally lower than US schools, where faculty enjoy wider benefits and better salaries.

Many Cambodian private universities have fixed subjects taken each semester, which does not provide as much academic freedom as US universities, he said. Cambodian education remains “teacher centered,” rather than “student centered,” he added. In US schools, students are allowed to pursue a number of different subjects outside of their requirements.

Teng Somongkol said teachers at Cambodian institutions still have a low standards of living; some work full time, others part time. Many have insufficient salaries, which contributes to a low standard of education, he said.

“In order to survive, some faculty members have to work part time, such as helping their wives run small businesses or running motorcycle taxis or something else,” he said.

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