Technical Meeting at MOEYS

Technical Meeting at MOEYS

By Pay How

Dr. Sokhom Sovathana & Mr. Pay How joined 30 participants from various Cambodian universities and institutes in a technical meeting at the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports. Excellency Mak Ngoy (Director General) chaired the meeting which was aimed at exploring the situation on English training and curriculum development in Higher Education Institutions in Cambodia.

Excellency Mak’s opening remarks stressed the importance of the English language for all ASEAN member countries. As English is used for communication, research, medical studies and of course it is the language taught in all universities and institutions. The Higher Education Department and MoEYS has been pushing for capacity building in terms of curriculum development, and there is a need to work collaboratively with Cambodian universities and educational institutions in order to organize a workshop on English training and curriculum development. It was mentioned that a workshop would probably be organized and conducted in two stages: the first in January 2014 and the second in July 2014.

During the meeting participants worked in group to discuss the following points:

  1. What is the general situation regarding English training in your university?
  2. What is the curriculum development process for English courses for students whose majors are other than English?

With regards to question number one, the University of Cambodia offers non-degree and degree English Programs. Prior to enrolling in undergraduate and graduate programs, most incoming students must enroll in a one-year Intensive English Program, with six levels of study, aimed at preparing and increasing student’s English proficiency for a rigorous academic studies based on the English language medium. An English placement given to all incoming students helps determine students’ level of proficiency. When students successfully complete the sixed level of the English proficiency courses, they then are able to enroll in an undergraduate or a graduate program in their preferable major, in which they have already chosen and applied from the start.

With regards to question number two, like all institutions, UC has established a curriculum development committee to work on program development. English program for Non-English-Major students has been developed and designed under the academic committee’s mechanism. Associate Deans propose the courses, select the contents, textbooks, teaching materials, and also develop the course syllabus. Apart from Foundation courses (ENG101 AND ENG102), Non-English-Major students have to do 3 extra English courses such as ENG 107(The Written Language), ENG122 (Further English for Non- Majors) and ENG219 (English for Business Communications). These courses are compulsory for students across all UC colleges apart frm COAA.

Each group presented what they had found and shared their ideas to the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports. Deputy Director General Dr. Nith Bunlay facilitated the group meeting to collect information and ideas to develop a future workshop on concepts aimed at helping Higher Education Institutions improve the English language curriculum.

After collecting the necessary information, Deputy Director General Nith asked all participants to return to their respected institutions and to follow up on the group meeting. Dr. Nith asked all participants to speak with university management to help provide additional information on the following questions and send answers to the Ministry.

  1. What’s the general situation on English training in your university?
  2. What are the strong points of your university in teaching English?
  3. Who or which unit is responsible for developing English curriculum to be used for students doing majors other than English?
  4. What are the shortcomings/ weaknesses your university faces in teaching English to those students?
  5. What king of technical support do you need in order to improve the English teaching situation in your university?

It is hoped that the information and ideas gathered from the meeting can be used to help prepare a workshop project proposal to help improve the English curriculum in all institutions and to help prepare Cambodia for ASEAN integration as well. Finally Excellency Mak Ngoy informed the participants that MoEYS would invite all participants back to attend the workshop, if and when the project is approved.