PEPY Students Discuss Changes After Studying at the Learning Center
At PEPY, we strongly believe that for our students to be prepared for their university classes and professional environments, financial support alone is not enough. PEPY Scholarship students come from rural areas, where the quality of public education is much lower than in urban areas and the culture and lifestyles are very different. For this reason, a lot of students tend to feel overwhelmed both academically and socially when they first arrive in the city. To address these gaps and support students to catch up to their urban-based peers, PEPY’s Learning Center provides them with daily training on English, ICT, and soft skills.
Now that the academic year is coming to a close, PEPY’s 2017 intake of Scholarship students have an idea of how PEPY’s programs have changed them since last November. Here are some of the things PEPY students had to say:
“I have learned a lot at the Learning Center this year, such as how to use English and ICT in practical ways. For our Community Payback Projects, I learned a lot about public speaking and communication, leadership, and connecting with other people to show that they are leaders, too. I also learned from my mistakes; I learned how to overcome obstacles and create solutions to them.” -Ousa
“This year, my English and computer skills have improved a lot. But the way I have changed the most is in my communication. I have become more friendly, brave, and emotionally intelligent. Before, I didn’t like reading, but now I’ve realized that this affected my speaking skills, now I am motivated to read more.” -Kochsey
“Now, I am brave. I can explain lessons to my friends in class, and even give them some opinions. I have had opportunities to be a team leader, such as to plant trees in my community. I can also communicate with new people, including foreigners!” –Tola
Students also discussed the changes they have seen within their families and communities:
“Before, my parents had a negative view of education. But now that they have allowed me to continue studying because of the PEPY Scholarship, they are pushing my sisters to study more because they are proud of me.” –Kochsey
“My family changed their opinions about education. Now, they motivate me to study because they think I will be able to find a good job and earn money to support myself. They also motivate my younger sister to study like me. I’ve even seen these kinds of changes in my neighborhood.” -Tola
“PEPY has made a change in my community because when my villagers see me have the chance to study at university they are motivated to push their children to continue their education, too.” -Ousa
Students’ discussions of the hard and soft skills they have gained illustrate the individual impact each Scholarship makes over the course of just one year. Now that they have gained these skills, they will continue to hone them during the rest of their studies, and in their professional and networking experiences. Additionally, as students’ explanations demonstrate, PEPY’s impact goes beyond students themselves, and fosters a positive attitude toward higher education within their families and communities via the visible changes in capacity, communication, and confidence they have undergone.
As this promotion of students finish up their first year at university, PEPY staff prepare for next year’s incoming Scholarship and Learning Center students, who will arrive in November. Feedback from students and program evaluations have been integrated by teachers, who have updated their lessons and approaches to keep ensuring holistic and sustainable impact on students’ lives. We are certainly looking forward to another fruitful year of positive change!
 Midpa. (5 Sep 2017). A Reflection on the State of Education in Rural Cambodia Today. http://midpa.org/2017/09/05/a-reflection-on-the-state-of-education-in-rural-cambodia-today