Private University Wants To Target Civil Servants

A private university in Phnom Penh next month will start offering a two-year master’s program specifically designed for older civil servants who don’t have undergraduate degrees, the university rector an­nounced Monday.

Chamroeun University of Po­ly-Technology will be targeting ci­vil servants over the age of 35 who have 13 years or more experience in gov­ernment, and will educate them in administration and political science, said rector Chea Chamroeun, who also advises the government on elections, higher education and NGOs.

“I request that older civil servants come and learn about politics and ad­ministration,” he said, pointing out that numerous officials had their ed­ucation interrupted by Cambo­dia’s years of civil war. Civil servants will not need to at­tend class every day if they are busy, and will instead be able to conduct re­search for themselves outside class­es, he said.

The university expects between 200 and 300 students to apply for the new program, which was approved by Prime Minister Hun Sen in Nov­em­ber and is recognized by the Min­istry of Education, Chamroeun said. Students will be paying a tui­tion of $890 per year, he said

Opposition lawmaker Keo Remy, who graduated from the university in 2003, welcomed the program.

“Most senior government officials’ knowledge is still limited,” he said, adding that many educated people were killed during the Khmer Rouge regime and that politicians cannot develop the country without academic training.

“When they get educated…they would know a lot about the law and would not dare violate it,” he said. “I urge the government’s senior leaders to spend some time [in school].”

Koul Panha, director of the Com­mittee for Free and Fair Elections, said the program would bolster the quality of civil servants’ work.

But Mu Sochua, an opposition party member and former minister of women’s affairs, questioned whether older officials would bother studying and attending classes once they had enrolled.

“They should have a balance between older civil servants and new civil servants,” she added. “Young students should have a chance to serve the nation.”

 

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