British Ambassador Mark Gooding said:
Your Excellencies, Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen
I am very pleased to be here today at the opening of “The UK Education Fair in Cambodia” today. First and foremost I would like to thank Springboard4Cambodia for their sterling efforts in making today’s event possible. I would also like to thank HE Chan Sokhieng and Norton University for co-hosting today’s event.
This year’s event is the fifth UK education fair in Cambodia, and I am delighted to see some familiar faces here today. But the format is new. For the first time, the roadshow format will allow UK colleges and universities to visit different Cambodian universities, thereby increasing access to the fair and boosting the dialogue between students and academic institutions.
This year’s fair is also taking place at a very special time for the UK in Cambodia. This year we are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the British Embassy in Phnom Penh, and the many areas of co-operation and friendship that exist between the people of the UK and Cambodia.
The education fair is an excellent example of these ties. Today, we have 16 UK colleges and universities participating in the fair, covering a wide range of courses and degrees. Together they are bringing some of the very best of British education to Cambodia.
Since I’ve been in Cambodia, I have seen a fast-growing thirst for high-quality education among students and young people in Cambodia. This is very welcome, and in the longer term the skills and qualifications that students will gain will enable young people to make an important contribution to Cambodia’s economic development. I hope that during the education fair, students will make contact with UK institutions to explore how they can benefit from a UK education.
So why study in the UK? The UK education system is respected and valued all over the world. First and foremost, UK colleges are renowned for the quality of the education they provide. This gives students the skills the need to get the best jobs, such as leadership, team working, and innovation.
That’s why the UK is home to the top four universities in Europe and four of top ten universities in the world. UK universities have been globally renowned for their excellence in innovation and research. Over the years they have produced over 70 Nobel prizes winners.
No wonder then that the UK is such a popular destination for students. Around 400,000 international students come to the UK every year to study, making UK colleges and universities some of the most diverse and cosmopolitan in the world.
And of course the UK is the home of the English language. University courses in the UK are of course primarily run in English. But there are also plenty of top quality English language courses and qualifications from the UK, including the first Cambridge ESOL English Language Test Centre in Cambodia that was opened here at Norton University last year.
One of our priorities at the Embassy is to try to make UK education as accessible as possible for Cambodian students. We offer three scholarships a year for Cambodians to study masters degrees in the UK. In addition, I know that some of the colleges here today will be happy to discuss with you what assistance is available to help you access UK education.
As well as the main Education Fair, the finals of the first ever International Public Speaking Competition will also take place in the margins of this week’s event with prizes for the winners of a study trip to the UK. Public speaking and debate is an important tradition in the UK, and it is encouraging to see so much interest in this competition. I am greatly looking forward to the final tomorrow and wish to thank Springboard4Cambodia for organising it, and to thank Kaplan International Colleges for their sponsorship.
To conclude, thank you once again to Springboard4Cambodia, especially Colin Glass and Pidet Sen, for their huge effort in making this year’s education fair a reality.
I would like to thank you all participants and wish you all and the event a great success in bringing the best benefits of UK education to more students in Cambodia.