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CCT’s computer course in local high schools led to a degree in civil engineering for Sovannrath

Hello everyone! Firstly let me introduce myself. My name is Sovannrath Ros. I’m 17. Also, I’m a former student at Samdech Euv High school in Battambang, Cambodia, where I had been studying for 6 years and graduated from my 12th grade in 2018. I’m very glad that you are spending time reading this. What I’m going to share with all of you today is my personal experience in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) field as I was a high school student, how it benefits me when I study at the university, as well as my perspectives on ICT.

First and foremost, I’d like to introduce you to Cambodian Children’s Trust organisation (CCT). Along with the help from their supporters, CCT have provided many computer laptops and offered professional IT instructors to 3 high schools in Battambang City including Samdech Euv High School, where the classes initially started in 2016. I’m so grateful to our supporters for the opportunity they gave me in order to broaden my knowledge in ICT field even further.

Basically, I did take 5 courses in the program of CCT in 2 year-time, which was in my 11th and 12th grade. They were the Basics of ICT I and II, Adobe Photoshop, and the fundamentals of Web Design and Robotic Programming. The Basics of ICT and Adobe Photoshop were included in the daily schedule as the core subjects in my high school. Nevertheless, Web Design and Robotic Programming were 2-week courses, which the organisation offered as extra classes during the school vacations.

Generally, there is still a number of Cambodian teenagers who may not find technology potentially useful in their study, especially when they are in high school. Yet, I would say that technology is a very crucial need for every level of studies. Indeed, you are not banned from doing more researches, and study extra things online although you are in high school. On the other hand, it would be greater when you get to know more sources of learning. Plus, there are many applications created for high school students to learn more on their own, too. Personally, ICT have always been helping me along my learning journey.

More importantly, having taken the above mentioned courses is a real plus for me. As I am now doing civil engineering degree, I must get used to many computer programs that are required to be used in this field. I have learnt some basic coding in MATLAB at my university in the first semester. Thanks to the 2 short courses, Web Design and Robotic Programming, which I took in high school, I could become more familiar with the languages that are used in the computers more easily. Still, there are definitely differences in how the commands are used in various types of coding programs, yet, there is much help when it is not your first time to write codes. More than that, as most of you may have already known, most assignments in tertiary level are required to be typed, thus you will find it struggling if you don’t know the basics of ICT. These are 2 things that knowing some fundamentals of technology benefits me in my tertiary level.

Last of all, this is the 21st century and the concept of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) has been widely used by everyone who wish to advance their lifestyle in many ways (for example: their studies, careers, communities, and even the whole society). Personally, I would say that to improve learning outcomes and teach the 21st century skills (such as the use of technology, self-motivation, problem-solving and teamwork), formal education and programmes that provide supports for educators to integrate ICTs into interactive teaching approaches should be put in place.

Additionally, I would highly recommend more young people, especially girls, to get involve in ICT sector. Although, personally, I am not the best in this field, but it is something worth trying and it is very useful for us to have a better position in today society. Although gender discrimination, lack of confidence, language difficulties, low literacy and lack of time and money are barriers that continue to prevent young women from taking full advantage of technology. However, these days the world is looking forward to seeing more potential and capable women working in this field as well as to creating a better gender proportion in the workplace. For example, on April 27th 2017, United Nations agencies introduced thousands of girls and women to careers in coding and robotics as part of its annual ‘International Girls in ICT Day’ celebrations around the world, meant to encourage girls and women to pursue careers in the field of information and communication technologies. Thus, this is already a priority for skilled women in ICT field.

In conclusion, the technology sector is one of the fastest growing industries globally, but experiencing skills gap. So what are you waiting for? Start your first step in ICT field today and see the world with a different perspectives!

“Empowerment of and investment in girls are key in breaking the cycle of discrimination and violence and in promoting and protecting the full and effective enjoyment of their human rights” (United Nations Resolution 66/170).