PHNOM PENH, April 27 (Xinhua) -- The World Bank has approved 90 million U.S. dollars in financing to support Cambodia's efforts in improving the quality of higher education and research in the country and broadening access to higher education for disadvantaged students, according to its statement on Friday.
"We welcome World Bank support in higher education and research, which is well aligned with the priorities of our Industrial Development Policy for 2015-2025," Cambodian Economy and Finance Minister Aun Pornmoniroth said in the statement.
"This project will help us establish a holistic strategy for higher education development and enable Cambodian graduates to meet the rapid demands and increasing opportunities -- for mobility and technology transfer -- of the ASEAN Economic Community and beyond," he said.
Over the next six years, the Higher Education Institutions Capacity Improvement Project will strive to improve the quality of education and research at targeted institutions, broaden access to higher education, and improve governance in the sector, the statement said.
The focus on science, technology, engineering, mathematics -- otherwise known as STEM -- as well as agriculture, is expected to equip Cambodian graduates with more relevant and transferrable skills that can support the country transition from a labor-intensive economy to one driven by knowledge, it said.
The project's five key activities include: providing research funds in the priority subject areas; expanding classrooms and laboratories; building dormitories for disadvantaged students; strengthening quality assurance and information systems; and working with international partners to improve the curriculum and methodology of the priority subject areas, it added.
Inguna Dobraja, the World Bank's country manager for Cambodia, said building high-quality research capacity and preparing a critical mass of highly-skilled graduates of tertiary education was a priority for both Cambodia and the bank.