Military School To Be Classified As Institute of Higher Learning

Cambodia’s state-run military school will get a curriculum up­grade and be classified as an institute of higher education to bring it on par with other military academies worldwide, according to officials and a government subdecree.

The Military Multi-skills Training School will become the Military Infantry Institute and deliver de­grees equivalent to those of other Cambodian universities, read the Feb 2 sub-decree obtained from the Council of Ministers.

“We’re trying to develop the quality of this military academy to the level of other countries in Asean,” said RCAF Commander-in-Chief Pol Saroeun. High school graduates will be selected this year for the new curriculum for the 2009 to 2010 academic year, he added.

The school, based in Kompong Speu province’s Phnom Srouch district, will take in a class of 200 students every year, selected by an en­trance exam, said Defense Ministry Sec­retary of State Phann Nguon. The exact criteria of admission and cur­riculum must still be determined and will be the object of a pra­kas, according to the subdecree.

After four years, students will graduate with a bachelor’s degree and join the Ministry of Defense staff, Phann Nguon said. The school will also deliver associate degrees and teach refresher courses, according to the subdecree.

“In the past, this bachelor’s de­gree of military students was not ac­cep­ted [elsewhere], it was accepted on­ly inside this institute,” because stu­dents only received military train­ing, said the school’s director, Oung San. Now, he said, they will re­ceive an education in the liberal arts in ad­dit­ion to mil­itary subjects like intelligence gathering, ma­­­neu­vering tanks and engineering.

With the new knowledge will come a new rank: Students will grad­­uate as lieutenants, said Soth Vuthy, deputy director of the Ministry of Defense’s de­part­ment of edu­cation. To date, it took grad­­­uates another six months in the service to secure that rank, he said.

SRP lawmaker Yim Sovann, former chair of the National Assem­bly’s defense commission, ag­reed it was important to give soldiers a higher education and modern military training.

“We want the government to select the students by a free and fair method,” he added.


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