Higher Education System in Cambodia started to improve in late 90s, when the era of wars, genocide and foreign occupation came to end and an economic development together with a social progress became possible.
Despite its improvements, Cambodia is the SEA region country that registers the lowest rate of public expenditure on Higher Education, accounting for 1,9% of GDP in 2014 (UNESCO Institute for Statistics - UIS). The latest expenditure in higher education was estimated to be much less than 0.1% of GDP (Mak et al. 2019)
Government public expenditure reduction is one of the many challenges that Cambodian Higher Education System is facing. Explosive growth in enrollment, difficulties to recruit and retain highly qualified staff and obsolete facilities also contribute to affect the quality of the education and therefore the increasing of graduate unemployment or under-employment.
In order to cope with these challenges, government is demanding greater efficiency, effectiveness and accountability in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) management.
In light of this demand, is clear that the Higher Education development depends on enhanced capacity of university leaders and operational staff as well as on a more effective national and institutional-level policies. A greater attention to partnerships, including those with the private sector, the improvement of the quality and the ensuring of sustainable HE financing are also important elements to focus on.
BALANCE consortium identified the improvement of the HEIs Financial Management as the key point to target in order to face the above mentioned challenges and satisfy the government demands. Indeed, Financial Management is the cornerstone of institutional management and quality education.
This decision has been determined also in accordance with information provided during the needs analysis conducted by the BALANCE consortium. This analysis showed that despite progress in HE development in recent decades, the current situation in HE reveals considerable problems such as curriculum mismatch, poor infrastructure, insufficient soft skills among graduates, outdated teaching and learning skills. Therefore, an intervention in strengthening financial autonomy and accountability in HEIs has become one of the main priorities.
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