BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA
The World Bank (WB) has provided US$ 23 million of credit and grants aid for the higher education quality and capacity improvement project in Cambodia.
The credit and grant aid agreements was signed on September 7th between H.E. Dr. Aun Porn Moniroth, Minister attached to the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for the Ministry of Economy and Finance and Mrs. Annette Dixon, World Bank Country Director to Cambodia. The signing ceremony was under the presidency of Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Keat Chhon, Minister of Economy and Finance, and Dr. Justin Lin, Senior Vice President of the World Bank.
“The total amount of funding for the higher education quality and capacity improvement project under the credit and grant aid agreements that we are signing today is US$ 23 million which comprises of US$ 11.5 million in credit and 11.5 million in grant aid,” H.E. Dr. Aun Porn Moniroth said before the singing ceremony.
H.E. Dr. Aun Porn Moniroth said during the last 10 years, the higher education sector has made significant progress and expanded both in the public and private sector. These reforms undertaken by the Royal Government in the private education sector in the form of free paying has resulted in a tenfold increase in enrollment. While there has been significant success and advancement in the education sector, the Royal Government acknowledges the need for further improvements, specifically at the graduate and post-graduate level.
“On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and people, I would like to express my sincere thanks to the World Bank for generous support for higher education quality and capacity improvement project,” he said. “I hope that this new project will significant contribute to the efforts of the Royal Government to improve Phase II of Rectangular Strategies.”
He continued to say that with the grant and credit agreements being signed today, the World Bank’s total assistance since 1993 to the Kingdom of Cambodia will reach US$ 1,059 millions of which grants comprises US$ 345.5 millions and credits comprise US$ 713.5 million of the total financing.
Phase II of Samdech Techo Hun Sen’s Rectangular Strategies will aim to continue strengthen the partnership between Cambodian government and private sector and also between Cambodian government and national and international communities to enhance the quality of education.
“Our main objective is to increase the availability of well-trained public and private sector manpower, including managers, technical specialists and higher level professionals to support the Royal Government’s national development goals,” he said.
Mrs. Annette Dixon, Cambodian World Bank Country Director, said that the five-year project will focus on two main components: first to improve the quality of teaching, management and research both public and private education sector through two approaches. The first approach is to primarily build capacity of the Department of Higher Education, the Department of Scientific Research and the Accreditation Committee of Cambodia through staff development program. This will also include the provision of approximately 68 post graduates fellowships. The second approach is to provide competitive development and innovation grants for research and learning to participation in the public and private high education institutions.
She added that the second is to access disadvantage students to the higher education by providing them with scholarship. An estimate of 1,000 disadvantaged students will be supported under this component comprising US$ 5.85 millions of total grants. This project will assist one of the key objectives of Cambodian government to provide more accesses to be better quality of higher education by the disadvantaged students in Cambodia.
“Quality in higher education is one of the key issues to build the country’s human capital which is crucial for sustainable development and poverty reduction,” she said. “I hope that this new project will help the country to strengthen its quality standards for reduction as well as to build the skills needed for the public and private sectors,” she added.