March 10, 2022
PHNOM PENH – India expressed an interest in strengthening cooperation between the provinces and universities of the two countries – in the fields of information technology and agriculture – following a request from Minister of Interior Sar Kheng.
The request came as Sar Kheng and Indian ambassador Devyani Khobragade visited the Chea Sim Kamchay Mear University in Prey Veng province’s Kamchay Mear district on March 7.
Sar Kheng said the university was about 110km from Phnom Penh and had developed rapidly. In the past, the area was very poor and had no real infrastructure. Roads, electricity and clean water had only appeared in the area under “the shadow of peace”.
He added that the university now contributed valuable knowledge to the students of Prey Veng and the surrounding provinces, according to Sar Kheng’s Facebook post.
“In order to further improve the quality of education there, Sar Kheng requested that India expand its cooperation with the university and the province,” said the post.
The same announcement quoted Sar Kheng as saying that India was particularly proficient in information technology and agriculture – so ties between farming communities and universities made a lot of sense.
“Ambassador Khobragade agreed on the importance of establishing and strengthening cooperation between the provinces and universities of the two countries, especially in the realms of information technology and agriculture. She also expressed her desire to establish relationships with other provinces, such as Preah Sihanouk, Kep and Kampot,” it said.
Chea Sim Kamchay Mear University is currently constructing a Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) building, which Sar Kheng said would contribute to the Kingdom’s socio-economic development.
Sar Kheng also suggested a project that would improve education at all levels. He asked Khobragade to promote a programme of student exchange and enquired as to whether India could send professors to teach at the university. In this way, they would educate many students in Cambodia.
India has completed many development projects in the Kingdom, with more still underway. In addition to these projects, India also provides scholarships to Cambodian students.
Khobragade encouraged the university’s students to apply for scholarships to study in India.
India is currently implementing a short online high-tech education and training programme in Cambodia. She said it would be advantageous for students to visit India after completing the short course.
Ro Vannak, co-founder of the Cambodian Institute for Democracy, said India is one of the world’s leading IT nations.
He said academic cooperation with India in this field could contribute to an impressive growth in the capabilities of professors and students – which would make them much more competitive in the labour market.
“India has not yet paid much attention to such cooperation, so this kind of exchange is unsustainable,” he told The Post on March 8.
An Indian embassy spokesman told The Post on March 8 that the embassy looked forward to being a partner in Cambodia’s economic development through capacity building, financial assistance and enhanced exchanges and interactions with all of the provinces of Cambodia.
“As for expanding cooperation with Prey Veng province and more, especially the University of Chea Sim Kimchay Mear, we have noted the minister’s request and will do everything possible to implement it,” he said.