ABOUT UNICAM

MOTIVATION BEHIND UNICAM PROJECT

In Cambodia, agriculture is the backbone of the country's economy, and it is currently a priority sector of the government policy. Not only the Ministry of Agriculture who work on this sector, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) also play a very important role in development of human resources for this sector. In fact, a higher education institution (HEI) in the country is poor in terms of the quality, which needs improving and enhancing.   READ MORE >

Because of many reasons, for example, between 1975 and 1979, the Khmer Rouge regime forced the cessation of formal education. Schools and Universities were closed and destroyed and teaching services decimated. People who they perceived as intellectuals or even those who had stereotypical signs of learning, such as glasses, were killed. The educational buildings and facilities were destroyed, and it is estimated that 75% of tertiary teachers and 96% of university students were killed. In 1980, the Ecole Normale Supérieure reopened, again teaching predominantly in French. The following year university focused on training students to become teachers, thus rebuilding the education system within Cambodia. During the past decade, the total number of students enrolled in HEIs increased nearly tenfold, from a modest 10.000 students in 1997 to 97.524 in 2006, and to 168.000 in 2009. The steep rate of increase in HEI student enrolment is a function of the mushrooming of HEIs between 1997 and 2009.

However, most of universities (mostly private sectors) are located in the capital city, and several universities were recently established beyond the capital between 2007 and 2009 to provide higher education (HE) services to people who live in rural areas. The expansion of university education in both developed and developing countries is clearly linked to concerns about quantity and quality of human resources and the demand and supply of higher‐level skilled professionals, typically recruiting faculty with higher degrees and enrolling only a small proportion of qualified high school graduates into undergraduate programmes.

Yet, there is some realization that it is no use bemoaning the structural fact of a “missing generation” and the urgent task today is to cultivate newer generations of highly‐educated academics.

WHICH ARE OUR OBJECTIVES

Enhance the knowledge, skill and attitudes // Acquire theoretical and practical knowledge
// Promote the exchange of experiences // Improve the institutional capacity.

THE SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES ARE:

 

To enhance higher-education quality

To improve the higher -education quality and its relevance for the labour market and society of Cambodia as well as the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) through offering Master´s Programmes in Sustainable Agriculture (MSA) and 

To build capacity of the young universities in Cambodia by providing advance training courses (ATC), collaborating and networking with appropriate national and international partners to be a multi institutional research and education center.

 

To develop human resources

The project favours countries that really need help for capacity building for education and research, like Cambodia where human resources are insufficient (less than 10% of University staff are holding PhDs). Thus, UNICAM will promote the exchange of experiences among participants and interdisciplinary cooperation.

To build university capacity

As agriculture should be studied at a large scale, UNICAM has associate partners form Thailand and Japan that can contribute no only to additional scientific expertise, but also additional funds for the project.

These objectives will be achieved through implementing comprehensive curriculum of Master´s programme in Sustainable Agriculture (MSA) and advance training courses (ATC) at young universities in the rural areas of Cambodia. All these actions will allow acquiring theoretical and practical knowledge to plan, evaluate and monitor sustainable agriculture products and improve the institutional capacity, in particular the capacity of management of organic agricultures and healthy foods in the country.

Innovative character of the UNICAM project

  • To address an internationally recognized education systems on sustainable agriculture
  • To take advantage to be able to conduct research on sustainable agriculture in the hotspot areas that is currently contaminated due to population and economic increases
  • To transfer these methodologies to an inter-regional network and combine it with their recognized expertise
  • To generate collaborative genuine products that are expected to have a sustained international scientific impact
Innovative character of the UNICAM project

Project activity and methodology

Methodological/technological innovations will be included:

  • A comprehensive master's curriculum on Sustainable Agriculture to meet the requirements of job market at SEA regional scale
  • Exchange programmes, internship and research stay at abroad
  • Field work in Cambodia and abroad for exploring and learning to find out main issues to deal with, and opportunities in the SEA region
  • The advanced training courses (ATC) and exchange programs among the universities for academic staff and young researchers (e.g. research and teaching skills) and also among the four Cambodian universities to share their experience
  • Providing seed grants for young researchers in order to improve and build their capacities up in development of technological innovations, which are related to sustainable agriculture, food safety and environmental conservation
  • Develop an academic journal for publishing research articles to disseminate research findings as well as to strengthen their capacities
  • Annual scientific conference at regional level to provide opportunities for them to improve and upgrade their knowledge through participating in the scientific meeting

implementation

Work packages

work

WP1.- Preparation:

Review of the existing curricula of master’s programmes at local, regional and global levels to develop a comprehensive curriculum of Master´s programme in Sustainable Agriculture (MSA), this work package will be strongly supported by the EU and associate partners and stakeholders.

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WP2.- Development:

Master´s programme in Sustainable Agriculture (MSA) and advance training courses (ATCs) will be offered at the four young universities in Cambodia to develop human resources and build university capacity. The both programmes will benefit to Cambodia for as long as the country’s need. 

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WP3.- Quality plan:

Internal and external quality evaluation and control of the UNICAM project. 

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WP4.- Dissemination & exploitation:

Dissemination of project results at wide scale. For instances, publications (e.g. scientific journal), UNICAM web-site updating and social networks (Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin). 

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WP5.- Management:

Consortium board (CB) activities like management and monitor all project activities. 

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Expected impact of the project?

The project will contribute to the strategic goal of promoting sustainable management of the environment and its resources in one of the poorest country of SEA. We will offer a comprehensive master's programme, and conduct advance training courses (ATC) at the four young universities in Cambodia, to develop numbers of skilled people.

The expected impact of the project is more effective, inclusive and country‐owned agriculture, food security and nutrition investment programmes through strengthening national capacities.

It will be achieved through four components:

1. Offering master's programme at the four universities to provide opportunities to people who live in rural areas.

2. Capacity development in the design and management of investment operations, including the various technical, economic, social and environmental dimensions of project design, project management, Monitoring and Evaluation, etc.

3. Strategic support in technical approaches (water management, seed quality assurance and nutrition) that have been prioritized by the Government and other stakeholders as critical to the development of key investments.

4. Capacity development of stakeholders’ organization to ensure inclusiveness of investment programmes and participation of these stakeholders in their design and implementation.

The project outcomes will be relevant to the following policies and initiatives:

  • Kyoto and Montreal protocols
  • World Summit on Sustainable Development, Global Earth Observation System of System initiative (GEOSS)
  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  • Environmental Technologies Action Plan (ETAP)

Sustainability

UNICAM project has as main goal to attain a more effective, country-owned agriculture and food security through strengthening national capacities.The Sustainability Plan aims to have a long-last impact of UNICAM project results in the Partner Countries represented in the partnership. This is based in four aspects of which its implementation will assure the continuity of the project by itself.

 

Unicam activities with a long-lasting impact

  • The accreditation of a new Master in Sustainable Agriculture (MSA) program following the Bologna principles
  • Staff and Institution Capacity Building, through ATCs implementation, exchange programmes and equipment acquisition
  • Teaching and learning materials
  • The creation of a community of stakeholders and subject matter experts
  • Bi-lateral agreements between Partner and Programme Countries to promote the mobility of staff and master students in the future

 >>>> For more information about our sustainability plan, the download link here.

 

Activities

Advanced Training Courses

UNICAM organizes Advanced Training Courses (ATCs) focused on training staff members from Partner Countries to transfer the acquired competences and skills to prospective students of the master, thus contributing to the sustainability of UNICAM beyond the lifetime of the project.

Given the local shortage of many important competences and skills which are needed in the sustainable agriculture field, numerous specific courses are organized and implemented by Programme Countries. Besides giving theoretical knowledge and insights on these field, practical skills are also taught, so that the local lecturers can put their knowledge into practical perspectives.

>>>> For more information: ATCs

Teaching and learning materials

Apart from the large amount of theoretical knowledge and practical skills which were transferred to local lecturers to improve their training, ATC lecturers produce learning materials which are updated and adapted to the specific needs of Cambodia concerning sustainable agriculture. A wide variety of teaching materials can be developed to train staff members designed to cover a large set of competences and skills. These materials are fully available for Partner Countries to be used later, after the end of the project, as updated learning materials.

The peer-reviewed Journal (Asian Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Safety) coordinated by UNICAM members will also contribute to provide learning materials by the publication of updated laboratory and field methodologies and Master thesis results. This project output will allow having a long-lasting impact in the Partner countries represented in the partnership, especially on the Higher Education sector as a whole, as well as on the different target groups concerned by the project.

>>>> For more information: AJAES

Exchange programs

The mobility of Cambodian staff to Europe is crucial to improve the knowledge, competences and skills of the staff that will be in charge of the organization and implementation of the MSA. These activities are focused on training, participating in practical work in the field and in the laboratory, and also making a network between universities. Within the first two years of
the project, many core staff participated in these mobilities . As the involved staff have positions of vice rectors or lecturers of the Partner Countries universities, the knowledge and skills learned are totally in line with the purpose of the project.

>>>> For more information: # Moving to Europe?

MSA program

Our four Master programs in Sustainable Agriculture arranged within UNICAM project are strategically located in different regions in Cambodia to provide a substantial workforce that possesses the knowledge, competences and skills on sustainable agriculture. In this way, the consistent need of job market is one of the means that ensure the sustainability of the programs. The master programs also have strong connection with local stakeholders which increase the practical perspectives of the program and also the job opportunities for graduated students. Along with the strong cooperation between Cambodian and European universities, research opportunities as well as grant funding are increased.

>>>> For more information: Master programme

Equipment

For the improvement of training, new equipment is purchased and upgraded as well as new teaching materials are developed and introduced in existing courses each year. The equipment purchased is based on the needs of the new master program to be used by the lecturers. As they have a long-term commitment with the MSA program, the sustainability of the equipment use is ensured.

Stakeholders and subject matter experts

Consortium Board members undertake a continuous search to update the list of stakeholders who contribute to the improvement and prolongation of the project outcomes.

These stakeholders play a very important role in the development and sustainability of the master programs. During the implementation of the program, their opinions about the content, opportunities and threats are of great interest. Workshops, organized in each university, contribute to collect the opinions of local stakeholders. Long-term cooperation between partner universities and local stakeholders it is aimed as it brings the benefits to both parties. In the workshops, the local stakeholders give a realistic perspective on the required skills, knowledge and competences that MSA students should have to ensure their opportunities in job market. On the other hand, these workshops are also a disseminating mean for the programs to be known by the local stakeholders so that their graduated programs can be easily recognized in the job market.

Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs)

UNICAM facilitates the signature of bi-lateral agreements between Partner and Programme Countries to enhance the staff and student mobility in the future. Indeed, the cooperation between European and Cambodian partners will not be finished after the UNICAM project. As such, several Memorandums of Understanding among partners will be promoted to facilitate this cooperation. This together with other research cooperation, such as the Asian Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Safety (AJAES) ensures the long-term cooperation among the partners. Thought these project, better understanding and stronger foundation between universities is built, which surely facilitates the future cooperation.