This is a private institute of higher learning in Phnom Penh. In a previous post I had pointed out the different characteristics of colleges in Cambodia as compared to the West.
Since the secondary education in Cambodia is rather poor, to say the least, and which is evidenced by the poor results of the high school diploma examinations where only about 53% pass and finally graduate, the colleges have to compensate for the lack of rather basic knowledge. Students have to attend a compulsory foundation year, which is nothing else but lessons that are part of the Western high school curriculum, which usually is a prerequisite for college admission.
Panasastra is one of the institutions with a rather good reputation. How it earned that is not quite known. If you go to college ranking websites worldwide it hovers somewhere in the 3000s They do offer morning, afternoon, and evening classes. Tuition is similar to the Royal University of Cambodia, and which is ranked much higher in the 600s. But ironically, the word among students is that the right thing to do is to go to Panasastra. They believe a degree from there will give you better job opportunities upon graduation.
However, Panasastra suffers a chronic shortage of adequate teachers. Normally, students take four courses per semester but it can happen that Panasastra just happens to be short of a teacher for one course. Consequently the student ends up with only three courses. He/she will have to take it the next semester, which naturally results in prolonging the entire time needed to get that degree. If this happens 3 or 4 times, and it quite often does, this will mean at least one additional semester, and it can quickly become an entire year just for lack of proper college management.
Some teachers also have a way of not showing up for class without any explanations. If it is a long holiday weekend some tend to extend it by a day or two. Of course, student attendance is mandatory and counts towards the grade.
Morale among teachers is reputedly not the best. The fluctuation of faculty staff is quite high. That is not good for the quality of courses at a college. Pay is supposedly not that great either, so it is no wonder they don’t attract enough teachers. Still, they have a huge student body, particularly in the English language department.
Another particular and peculiar feature in Cambodia is the fact that students normally do not receive their diploma upon graduation. Sometimes they have to wait 1 year, in some cases even 2, to receive them since there are not enough graduates for a ceremony.
So, if I had to decide again where a son or daughter should go, it would not be Panasastra.
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