The number of Cambodians aspiring to university undergraduate and postgraduate programs is escalating; they value a university qualification, as it is a pathway to gain access to well-paying jobs. Postgraduate students are a vague, little-known group of education consumers in the Cambodian higher-education sector; however, they contribute directly to Cambodia’s ongoing development through future research contributions and wider societal leadership roles. This research provides a preliminary and largely descriptive profile of postgraduate students in a Cambodian public university.
The findings of an online survey of a master’s programme at a Cambodian government university provide information to all involved in the planning and development of postgraduate programmes in Cambodian universities. Most postgraduate students are males, married, and urban, they invest up to a third of their annual income on study and study-related costs, and little use was made of institutional resources like libraries, computers, and the Internet. A strong belief among respondents is that attainment of a postgraduate qualification is materially beneficial for their career prospects in which they can contribute to their country’s development with their improved skills and training.
Finally, the author concludes that limited infrastructure, inexperienced academic staff and conflicting ideals, as well as lack of student-focused resources and services within the university, means that postgraduate students face significant challenges in their pursuit of academic success. That is why the author recommends that university course planners need to align courses to reflect projected employment trends and skill needed within the country. Besides, Cambodia’s higher education sector should be more relevant to the country’s situation and the lecturers should be more active and good facilitators. The basis for higher education funding, staffing, and the extent of academic support service provision are all important areas for further study.