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.