On 18 December, Cambodia’s leading telecommunications operator, Smart Axiata, proudly announced their next batch of local students who will be receiving a full university scholarships under Smart’s SmartEdu Scholarship Programme; endorsed by the ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) and the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications of Cambodia (MPTC)!
Seeing the vast success of SmartEdu the previous year, which saw 10 students receive up to 15,000 USD in scholarships and stipends; Smart has decided to increase their intake of scholars this year to 20 top students nationwide. Furthermore, in showing their support for digital and ICT innovation; 10 places have been reserved for students interested in furthering their ICT-related studies at the National Institute of Posts, Telecoms & ICT (NIPTICT).
In addition to receiving the necessary financial support and funding, the SmartEdu scholars will be provided with opportunities like attending development programmes initiated by Smart, being part of their long line of CSR outreaches and most importantly, a chance at possible employment with Smart upon successful completion of their course of study.
For those of you who might not already know, SmartEdu sieves out the top students from over 100 applicants located all over the Kingdom and gives them a chance to receive a quality education, as well as finances their tuition fees until the scholar has acquired his or her Bachelor’s Degree and provides them a stipend of around 200 USD monthly for their living expenses.
Once again, looking back on the 2016 batch of SmartEdu scholars, Chea Chet, a now Year 2 student from the previous intake, shared his experiences thus far in the programme to the attendees at Raintree Cambodia. As a farmer boy who has always dreamed of receiving an education, this big dream is no longer unreachable for him after being granted the SmartEdu scholarship. He goes on to say that receiving this scholarship has been a “golden opportunity” as he is able to achieve his dreams, without having to financially burden his family back home.
CEO of Smart Axiata, Mr Thomas Hundt, went on to elaborate on the purpose of this educational initiative; stating that it is Smart Axiata’s responsibility to go beyond the bottomline and make sustainable impacts in sectors such as the local economy, environment and society. With SmartEdu, Smart hopes to give the brightest and most promising local students a better tomorrow, on top of nurturing their talents and ICT skills.
“As Smart continues to be a leader in the telco industry and a strong advocate for community development, it is only natural that we continue developing future talent for the Kingdom. The SmartEdu Scholarship Program is a key component of our National Champion Agenda,” explained Hundt. In regards to future plans, Hundt continues to wish the scholars the best of luck in their studies, saying, “We hope this scholarship will drive them to achieve greater heights!”.
Graced by both H.E. Dr. Hang Chuon Naron, Minister of MoEYS, and H.E. Dr. Kan Channmeta, MPTC Secretary of State, both esteemed individuals gave their personal thoughts on the programme, as well as the ever-evolving landscape of Cambodia’s digital and tech scene.
Firstly, H.E. Dr. Hang Chuon Naron started off by sharing how great it is to see such development in Cambodia as it is important for Cambodia to catch up with the world in the digital and ICT sector. “As the quality of education in Cambodia continues to improve, we see a need to meet the developing needs of the country. One such area is ICT – an increasingly important part of everyday life. Given Smart’s leadership in this field, SmartEdu will surely serve as a catalyst for students seeking to pursue such careers,” H.E. Naron explained.
H.E. Dr. Kan Channmeta echoed H.E. Naron’s view on the importance of ICT education in the Kingdom. He added, “At MPTC, we have identified key priorities to develop more ICT talent and digital workforce in the coming years to meet the demands of Cambodia’s digital economy. I’m delighted that Smart has utilised the Capacity Building and P&D Fund to join us in enhancing local ICT capabilities through SmartEdu Program.”.
The new batch of scholars also shared their thoughts on receiving the scholarship. According to 17-year-old Lay Cheavita and 18-year-old Run Seyha, they mentioned that this scholarship indeed allowed them to dream big.
“SmartEdu is a really good opportunity for young Cambodians, as support in education is the first step to help us reach our goals,” said Chevita, who will be majoring in Food Chemistry at the Institute of Technology of Cambodia. Seyha, who will be studying Computer Science at NIPTICT, went on to say, “I really think this is the best opportunity for students who face financial issues and wish to further their education. Smart has offered a great future for us.”.