Ministerial arms to set up modern-age infrastructure engineer training course

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Construction on Hun Sen Boulevard in Meanchey district’s Chak Angre Krom commune in southern Phnom Penh on November 30. Hean Rangsey

The Techo Sen Institute of Public Works and Transport (TSI) under the Ministry of Public Works and Transport and the Institute of Technology of Cambodia (ITC) under the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish an undergraduate technical skill training programme that will help facilitate the construction of transport infrastructure in the Kingdom.

The MoU was signed by ITC director Om Romny and public works ministry secretary of state Im Nithara on January 12.

The signing ceremony was also attended by public works minister Sun Chanthol and education minister Hang Chuon Naron.

Chanthol said it was vital to establish training centres at the two institutes because Cambodia currently has no programme focused on skills necessary for road, bridge, ports or railway construction and has always had to rely on foreign workers and companies over the years.

“I want to see our Cambodian children, this generation and the next generation, have the same knowledge as our ancestors once did when they built temples that are world famous for their beauty and built with such lasting quality that they are still standing after a thousand years,” he added.

Chanthol believes that Cambodian students will have sufficient capacity to build transportation infrastructure in Cambodia efficiently and to high standards of quality after graduating from the new training programme equipped with the latest technical skills.

According to Chanthol, for the academic year 2020-2021 the programme will enrol 200 students at TSI and ITC. The institutes are still in discussions regarding the proposed fees and possible scholarship opportunities.

He said the ministry will attempt to find funding for scholarships through development partners so that any students experiencing financial difficulty who are talented and have the ambition to learn these skills will have an opportunity to do so.

“We are able to build educational institutions to provide knowledge to Cambodian children. But all Cambodian children must learn devotion to serving their country and be motivated by a passion to use their knowledge to burnish its international reputation and bring lasting glory to the name Cambodia,” Chanthol said.

Education minister Chuon Naron said this is the first time that a Cambodian institution has had a programme offering a bachelor’s degree in engineering of this type since the 1980’s. For many years Cambodia has had to send its students abroad to study these skills.

“I hope that in the future we will be able to construct bridges across the Mekong River and railways throughout the country ourselves,” he said.

ITC director Om Romny said this programme is the foundation for the future development of important national infrastructure, especially strengthening capacity and improving the regulatory framework for the rapidly developing transportation sector in Cambodia.

“This MoU is essentially an agreement between our two schools to train technical skills in public works and transportation as part of a dual degree programme for which the ICT side brings an integrated curriculum developed with higher educational institutions in the European Union, Japan and ASEAN,” Romny said.