I had the opportunity to work as a volunteer, for the CIST , the Center for Information System Training, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It is basically a center concerned by helping brilliant student from remote and poor area to get access to higher and quality education.
Several selection sessions are organized all over the country to bring the targeted students. Investigations are also carried out to verify the financial needs of the student’s family and verify if the students helped cannot actually afford this higher education by themselves.
But what I really admired in the center is that its mission is not only about bringing basic education to people in need. It is bringing excellent education, with values, practice and the commitment of competent teachers and effective staff. It is bringing a new mind, innovative, respectful and ready to take responsibilities and contribute to the developing Cambodian society.
I was really surprised by the quality of the infrastructure and the training material and impressed when I heard that the center actually trains almost 30% of the IT engineers needed by the local market.
CIST has proved that with some funds (who refuses to finance education?), local partnerships (who refuses to take part in education projects ?) and preservation(that’s why it should be done by local people), effective and lasting opportunities can be provided for disadvantaged students. Such experiences should me multiplied in other developing countries as soon as possible, countries with a weak university system that is often too expensive and unaffordable.