Interview with Pen Sithol on the topic “Qualification Framework”

By SUN Narin

Cambodia’s higher education has not been improving yet. So far, the country has not had a national qualifications framework which shows qualification of the degree holders and tells the skill and competency a person has after finishing the course. Pen Sithol is the director of the department of Standards and Accreditation for Higher Education.

Mr. Pen Sithol

Question: How is it important to our education system?

Pen Sithol: It’s very important to any education system because it tells the framework so curriculum developer needs to match curriculum at university with the framework and also telling the learners what to do, what they expect to have as the learning outcome when they finish the course.

Question: As far as I know so far Cambodia does not have that kind of qualification framework. So I want to know the difficulties of creating it.

Pen Sithol: Em….Actually we have the study part way telling the learners when they finish one level to another level, but we don’t have certain qualification framework yet. Based on the education law, the ministry has to develop this qualification frame. It is not very difficult but it takes time because it involves with other state holders in order to develop qualification framework. What have to find out what the needs in the market, skills and competency need at the market and then we can develop that qualification framework.

Question: So how it is difficult to study the market needs?

I don’t think it is difficult.  As I said it takes time, and the ministry of education based on their plan, they will start develop qualification frame in 2012 and as far as I know that the ministry of labor and vocational training they got the qualification already but it is not implemented yet.

Question: I wonder what the involved sides of that.

Pen Sithol: The first thing we have to think of the skill needed at the market and we have to you, know, and invite all the stage holders. Those who will use human resource. I mean from the university. They have to produce the human resource based on the need in the market. And that the qualification framework can show what qualification, what the quality of learners that they have to match the market needs.

Question: Is it the process of making it?

Pen Sithol: I don’t think so. But As I know from the ministry of education, they said that there will be in 2012. They just start that. According to Aquan, Asean Quality Assurance Network, they promise that by 2012 all the country members must have qualification network.

Question: So I want to know what is the plan from your department.

Pen Sithol: Actually we have plan for many years, but because we don’t have enough human resource and and also enough fund to do that, but we plan to do that because in our accreditation, we need also qualification framework so that we can do program qualification work.

Question: What is your optimism towards Qualification framework?

Pen Sithol: yes thank you. Hopefully by the end of 2012 the ministry will develop qualification frame work. From that framework, our higher education system will change. Curriculum will change. We will focus on competency and learning outcome. So our human resource will be better after we got qualification framework.


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