February 10, 2011
With the number of private universities in Cambodia growing in recent years, the country wants to do more to evaluate the value of higher-education institutions, The Phnom Penh Post reports. As competition is increasing among institutions, the general quality of higher education is improving, says Pen Sithol, director of the Department of Standards and Accreditation in the Ministry of Education. Roughly 30 percent of the country’s approximately 40 higher-education institutions are private, according to the ministry.
Fees at Cambodia’s universities range from $3,000 to $250 per year, the newspaper says, but a steeper price tag doesn’t always mean a better education. That’s because some of the less-expensive schools receive outside funds and offer students subsidized tuition.
In a bid to offer some clarification, the ministry’s Accreditation Committee of Cambodia evaluates universities according to factors such as academic programs, teaching, physical facilities, and more. In 2008, the committee’s analysis of Phnom Penh’s institutions found that five did not meet the required standards. The evaluations are designed to assess broad-based quality, and rather than focus on fees alone, “the most important thing is whether students can absorb knowledge from their lecturers,” Mr. Pen says.