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readers' submissions


Free-Market Economy and Free-Market University

by Lay Vicheka

November 21, 2005

Cambodia was steered into “free-market economy” after the radical agreement, done in Paris on October 23, 1991. And this “humanitarian trend” is, of course, prevalently accepted by Cambodians. Resulting from this, Cambodia’s integration into regional and international communities has boosted her economy.

Education is now of one of the most or probably the most pressing agenda of Cambodian people and government. I, myself and most of the Cambodian people, poor and rich, educated, low-educated and illiterate, are showing negative point of views toward Cambodia’s mushrooming universities.

I have seen that nearly all of the universities are not playing as the “human resource developers”; it seems like commercial competition; “profit-oriented.” Can university play the role of “profit-oriented legal entity?” It would be too dangerous for the university to turn itself into the profit-oriented entity, since the whole nation would suffer in the future. In this short article, I don’t want to enlarge my content by depicting and analyzing those existing or impending drawbacks that those universities with the profit-oriented vision will bring.

Many apparent problems have been seen and complaints by the students have been ubiquitously heard; unemployment rates, non-quality education, no clear-cut academic curriculums. So who or what are creating these problems. Universities that are playing profit-oriented role are dramatically contributing to the aforesaid problems. Apparently, we see that nearly all sectors; economic, political, social have been analyzed by the international individuals or institutions. And why is that? Universities are not producing confident human resources to replace those of the foreigners.

I see that there are two ways that unemployment is increasing in Cambodia; 1. Genuinely educated peoples are not provided with opportunities to express their abilities and 2. Though the vacancy is available, we don’t have the qualified persons to fill.

I don’t have analytical resolution to such the havoc, since I want to keep this article short and simple. But I just want to command one point: improving the quality of the universities is the very first and foremost step of all other betterments and we will see how it will continuously be proceeding. According to Article 6 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), everyone is entitled to a right to work and earn a living, not only the ICESCR, Cambodian constitution and other international instruments that Cambodia have entered, do guarantee the equally and self-fulfillment of employment, but quality and opportunity is the problem in Cambodian, such the aspiration of the this international instrument is extremely hard to achieve.

Quality is everything, but that everything is instigated from the willingness, and government, is of course, that willingness trigger” (Coined by Lay Vicheka, 2005).


The author is a final year student of law at the University of Phnom Penh.

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(011) 268 445

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