Thursday, January 22, 2009

RUPP Plans to Select More Journalist Students in 2010

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Cambodian Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said that the number of journalist students attending classes at the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) is too low. He said the reason for this is because there are no scholarships to help students get into the university.

“I think that although the number of Khmer journalist students who attend the Media and Communication Department in the University is less than other subjects, it remains a suitable career given the economic environment in Cambodia,” he told The Cambodia Weekly.

He added, “However, I would be glad if the Royal University of Phnom Penh would expand the scholarship program for our students or provide alternative training courses for the students every evening or weekend.”

Tieng Sopheak Vichea, Co-Director of the Media and Communication Department (DMC), and Director of the Cambodian Communication Institute (CCI) under RUPP, said that the University plans to recruit more journalist students in 2010.

The Director said that there are about 35 students below the age of 24 that receive scholarships from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) every year. He said they attend classes for four years under the training program at the DMC.

“The reason why we are not able to choose more students for DMC training courses concerns the shortage of human resources and learning materials” he told the Cambodia Weekly during interview.

He hinted that now the school has only five professors and a limited supply of learning materials, so the center is not able to teach more students. However, he hopes that with financial support from MoEYS, he will be selecting more students for the DMC in 2010.

The Department of Media and Communication was established in 2001 after RUPP and the Royal Government of Cambodia recognized requirement for professional media studies.

The Director said that the first Bachelor of Arts in Media Management program began in September 2001, with the support of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, which provided resources, staff, aided in curriculum development, and provided related materials.

Concerning the training courses, he said that the training was conducted in both Khmer and English. It takes place in RUPP every morning and afternoon from Monday to Friday.

He said that training courses included writing skills, mass media studies, print media studies, media management, visual arts, radio journalism and TV journalism, radio and TV production courses, media research and analysis, English skills and Online journalism.

He added that students have to pay an US$ 80 contribution per year for the training.

He said that to enhance journalistic skills, the university sends around six students to serve as interns with the Nation Newspaper in Bangkok, The Star in Malaysia and other newspapers in European countries every year. He also said that the university sends students to work with national newspapers and international media outlets based in Cambodia.

He noted that besides internships, the university also invites many guest speakers and lectures from local and internal non-governmental organizations or foreign embassies to speak about their working experience or other matters related to journalism. These talks take place every Friday.

He emphasized that since the establishment of the DMC in 2001, over 100 students have attended DMC training courses. He said that most of them have found jobs with local or international newspapers, local or international companies or non-governmental organizations and Cambodian government ministries. He added that some students continued to study abroad to obtain a Master’s degree in professional journalism.

“The majority of journalists and media managers in Cambodia do not have sufficient or relevant qualifications to operate effectively in their field. Many have expressed their desire for more opportunities to engage in advanced academic studies so as to become recognized experts in their field,” he said.

He continued that in recognition of this need, RUPP will prepare a Master’s degree in Journalism in 2012.

Ben Sophoan, 21, a second- year Khmer Literature student at RUPP, said that he wants to study journalism but he failed his entrance examinations last year.

“I prefer to study Journalism but I failed to obtain results high enough to justify my place on the very limited scheme. I think that I will attend the private classes when they open at some stage in the future,” he said.

Doung Phallen, 23, a history student at RUPP, said that she also wants to study Journalism, a dream she has held since childhood. She too failed to secure a place on the scheme.

“I think that to reach my goal, I do my best to pass the next MoEYS’s Journalism Scholarship Program Entrance Exam. If fail again, I will study at a private school,” she added.

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