4th Cambodia Science and Engineering Festival – Promoting STEM education in Cambodia

Cambodia’s largest and most exciting celebration of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) is back again for its fourth edition! Together with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport in Cambodia (MoEYS), the Cambodian Science and Engineering Festival (CSEF) is being held between 1 to 3 March at the National Stadium in Phnom Penh.

The Festival officially opened with speeches by His Excellency Hang Chuon Naron, Minister of MoEYS, U.S. Ambassador William A. Heidt and British Ambassador William Longhurst, and other distinguished delegates remarks.

With the success of the previous three festivals, this year’s event will once again provide attendees the opportunity to take part in seminars and see a wide selection of different booths at the exhibition area.

The Festival aims to encourage students to study, examine and address problems using scientific thinking and methodology. It offers a singular opportunity for student to investigate the fascinating Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics universes, with the final outcome to compile scientific knowledge and skills. The Festival also encourages students to show off what they have learnt at a special booth where they can share their creations, inventions and discoveries with the public.

MoEYS has clearly given top priority to the development of STEM in Cambodia as it seeks to improve the quality and efficiency of education, youth and sport through the mainstreaming and utilisation of current and future ICT resources. The Ministry has shared several of its ambitions for 2018, such as

  • Developing the capacity of teachers and researches in the fields of STEM

  • Linking STEM education to daily life and enhancing research activities

  • Creating suitable conditions and encouraging environments for the development of students’ ability to study and conduct research

Another MoEYS goal is to promote gender equality in STEM education through the implementation of the “Technovation” programme, which invites teams of girls from all over the world to learn and apply the skills needed to solve real-world problems through technology. In Cambodia, girls aged from 13 to 16 years old can participate by attending a 12-week training programme where they learn how to code, make prototypes and build mobile applications, with the objective to pitch their ideas at the end of the school year, and eventually access the final competition held in the U.S.A.

This project has been developed in collaboration with Development Innovations, a project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) that aims to help civil society organisations, technology companies and social enterprises design and use ICT solutions to address Cambodia’s development challenges.

MoEYS is also contributing to the development of several STEM infrastructures in Cambodia with the establishment of a new generation of schools in the primary and secondary levels. As for higher education institutions, the Royal Institute of Phnom Penh (RUPP) is currently conducting 10 bachelor degree programmes and six Master degrees in STEM fields with the objective to strengthen their facilities with the development of a research center, a laboratory and a resource hub.

Other initiatives from MoEYS are the development of STEM study clubs in 36 high schools in the capital and the dissemination of resources to students in the provinces through the STEM bus program.

The free-of-charge festival is the biggest one yet, and is open to all members of the public from 9am – 7pm daily.

For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/STEMCambodiaNGO/.

 (Edited by Peter Ford)

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