Feature: School at BRI-backed economic zone in Cambodia offers talents professional skills, language proficiency-Xinhua

Feature: School at BRI-backed economic zone in Cambodia offers talents professional skills, language proficiency

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2023-11-25 18:50:30

Students attend a class at the Sihanoukville Institute of Business and Technology in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, Nov. 21, 2023.(Photo by Liao Hongqing/Xinhua)

SIHANOUKVILLE, Cambodia, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) -- Eiv Thuna, a 20-year-old Cambodian student, was proud to have earned a scholarship to study at the Sihanoukville Institute of Business and Technology (SIBT) here, expressing her hope for a brighter future as the school has been providing her both professional skills and Chinese language proficiency.

The tuition-free SIBT is a university-level school, which was jointly founded by the Wuxi Vocational Institute of Commerce (WXIC) from China and the Sihanoukville Special Economy Zone (SSEZ).

Born into a poor family in the Takeo province, Thuna could not afford to study at a university after her high school graduation. Fortunately, she learned about SIBT's full four-year scholarships from a friend. She applied for it and was granted in 2022.

Now, Thuna is in her second year at the SIBT in the major of business management. She studies in the evening and works during the daytime at the SSEZ.

She excels in her studies and has artistic talent. She learned to play the cucurbit flute and to sing Chinese songs from the school's principal. In May this year, she won a prize in the finals of the Chinese Bridge- Chinese Proficiency Competition in Cambodia.

The salary she earns at the factory not only covers her own expenses but also helps alleviate the financial burden on her family. She has become the main economic source for the household.

"I feel very happy to study here because the school has provided scholarships to poor students," she told Xinhua.

"Teachers take care of us like they are our parents, and students treat each other like brothers and sisters," she added.

Thuna said the SIBT is a place where she can fulfill her dream, as it has provided her with both knowledge and know-how, plus Chinese language proficiency.

"I feel grateful to this zone, and I want to work here to the best of my capacity, knowledge and skills," she said.

Thuna said the SSEZ is green, clean and safe, and people here are friendly.

"I would like to thank the SSEZ for establishing this school, which has allowed poor students to pursue their university studies, and I wish the SSEZ greater success," she said.

Khoeun Sreynot, a senior in the major of logistics management at the SIBT, said this school has offered four-year scholarships to students, with free accommodation and that both foreign and domestic lecturers here are very capable.

"All studies at this business institute are free of charge, and lecturers are very responsible for their duties," she told Xinhua.

A native of Prey Veng province, the 23-year-old is very confident that after graduating following her four-year study, she will master both skills and Chinese language proficiency.

"I would like to work in the administration department at the SSEZ because the major I am learning is logistics management," she said. "I really thank the SSEZ for having granted scholarships to me and other students. This assistance has helped us to fulfill our dreams."

Seng Sothan, a Cambodian lecturer of economics at the SIBT, said he is very proud to be a teacher here because he can transfer his knowledge to the younger generations of Cambodia.

"The students in SIBT come from different provinces, and most of them come from poor families," he told Xinhua. "They have full scholarships to study here. It means that they don't pay anything."

Sothan said the school's quality and curriculum are recognized by the WXIC and the Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.

He said the SIBT offers bachelor's degrees in business management, logistic management, and information technology.

"The students can learn and practice in the companies in the Sihanoukville Special Economy Zone," he said.

The school has also provided free short-term courses in English and Chinese languages, as well as computer usage and air-con repair and maintenance.

Moreover, the school has also had a student exchange program with the WXIC, he said, adding that seven outstanding Cambodian students have been granted scholarships to study at the WXIC this year.

SIBT's executive principal Li Chuanbin said that launched in 2019, the school aims to help students become mid-level management talents in the Southeast Asian country.

"They may take on roles such as human resources executives or assistant general managers in enterprises within SSEZ," he told Xinhua. "Additionally, they could apply for positions as civil servants in government departments or work as teachers in secondary schools."

More than 110 students are studying in this school, and they will master both professional skills and Chinese language proficiency, Li said, adding that they will become significant contributors to the development of Cambodia's economy and education in the future.

Situated northeast of the international deep-water Sihanoukville Autonomous Port, the SSEZ has transformed the former fishing village into a bustling town full of good infrastructure, phone shops, barbershops, markets and restaurants.

The SSEZ houses the most enterprises of all SEZs in Cambodia. According to the zone's operator, the 11-sq-km SSEZ currently accommodates 180 factories from China, Europe, the United States, Southeast Asia and other regions, generating some 30,000 local jobs.