A key to the future: PEPY staff host talk about the benefits of university study and how to access further education
For students in Kralanh, these are big questions. It is questions like these which fuel PEPY’s Dream Classes. On Wednesday 9th January at Kralanh High School, two PEPY staff members, Chhoem Rithy and An Em, delivered a talk to over 50 students from Grade 9 and Grade 12 about the possibilities of university education. The talk formed part of PEPY’s new curriculum for Dream Class, implemented at the start of the school year.
The main aim of the talk was to inform students about the different options they have to consider when looking at further education. For Grade 9 students, the next step in their academic lives is to progress on to High School. The talk however looked further into the future at the benefits of university education, and how students can access scholarship programs offered by PEPY, other NGO’s, and the government. Information was shared with students about PEPY’s own scholarship program (which is currently in its first year), as well as useful websites to find out about government scholarships. Students were also encouraged to ‘dream big’ and given information about opportunities for studying abroad through scholarship schemes, as well as details about where to find more information for scholarships in Cambodia. As Chhoem Rithy said, “there are around 4900 scholarship opportunities in Cambodia – students need to know about these!”
The session allowed students not only to think more clearly about university studies, but also covered ways of choosing a subject. Part of the Dream Class curriculum is to help students understand what their talents are, and what they enjoy; only then can we explore how to develop these passions into careers. Chhoem Rithy gave an array of examples to help students understand. “If you like reading, you can be an interpreter, a teacher, even a songwriter! If you like science you can work in pharmaceuticals, if you like music and art, those are your talents, you can be an artist.” The discussion went on to consider specific courses, from Finance to Khmer Literature.
An Em discussed with students the benefits of studying at university. He shared with the Dream Class participants how completing a university degree prepares students for finding a job and puts them in a better position than those without formal qualifications. As well as highlighting the academic importance, An Em also spoke to students about the social benefits of further study. “At university we can meet new people and make new friends with people from different places. We gain more knowledge because we can share our knowledge with each other.” He added, “Another benefit is [students] learn how to develop their country, and make change they want to see in the world.”
In 2012, five Grade 12 students received scholarships to continue in education. We hope that the information discussed in Wednesday’s talk will give students the skills and confidence to apply for these opportunities and encourage them to develop their talents into qualifications.