International Centre for Higher Education Innovation
under the auspices of UNESCO

Weidong Smart Classroom in RUPP: A Hub for Cambodian Teachers’ ICT Capacity Building

March 10, 2020
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During February 10th to 25th 2020, Hassan A. Shehzad, CTO of IT and Enterprise Partnership Office, International Centre for Higher Education Innovation under the auspices of UNESCO (UNESCO-ICHEI), and Kevin WU, Overseas Project Manager of Smart Classroom, Weidong Cloud Education Group arrived in Cambodia to deploy the country’s first-ever Smart Classroom in Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) and conducted multiple rounds of technical and operational trainings besides meeting with university’s leaders and management teams from various faculties. This is the second Smart Classroom launched in Asian countries after University of Engineering and Technology Lahore, Pakistan, and fourth in the world carried out by UNESCO-ICHEI after Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt, and University of Djibouti, Djibouti.

Dr. Chet Chealy, Rector RUPP, and Hassan Shehzad, UNESCO-ICHEI

Equipped with advanced interactive recording and broadcasting system, the Smart Classroom is located on the 7th floor of new STEM Building in RUPP’s main campus. It can support the teachers to realize multi-cam recording, editing and uploading courses to learning management system platform while enhancing existing blended learning modality at the institutional level. Combining ICT and higher education innovation, Weidong Smart Classroom, the first-ever Smart Classroom in Cambodian higher education sector, is not only a bridge of mutual trust linking UNESCO-ICHEI and Cambodian higher education system, but also served as a platform for teachers to improve ICT capacity by UNESCO-ICHEI’s flagship project—International Institute of Online Education (IIOE).

Weidong Smart Classroom in RUPP, the first of its kind in Cambodia

With the joint support by RUPP, all the devices, equipment, cables, hardware and updated software were completely set in the Smart Classroom facility, and the target trainings have been conducted. On February 21, Dr. Chet Chealy, Rector of RUPP, together with a total of 20 senior management as deans of different departments of the university, paid a visit to Weidong Smart Classroom located in the STEM building of RUPP and experienced the potential of the devices. The Rector expressed his satisfaction to the success of Smart Classroom deployment and highly appreciated UNESCO-ICHEI, Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech), and Weidong Cloud Education Group for their joint efforts. Meanwhile, he encouraged that all teachers in RUPP should actively master the application of Smart Classroom and combine it into their teaching practices.

RUPP faculties are experiencing Weidong Smart Classroom

As the first Smart Classroom project in Cambodian education history, it was taken as a highlight by Cambodian national government. On February 24, H.E. Dr. Sann Vathana, Under-Secretary of the State, MoEYS, Cambodia, led a delegation to the Smart Classroom. Hassan introduced to the delegation that UNESCO-ICHEI has established a long-term partnership with Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP). Harnessing the advantages of Shenzhen’s ICT industry and the discipline of Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech), UNESCO-ICHEI aims to build a digital higher education link by deploying Smart Classrooms in Asia-Pacific and Africa, to improve teachers’ ICT competency.

H.E Dr. Sann Vathana, Under-Secretory of the State, MoEYS, Cambodia
and Hassan, UNESCO-ICHEI

After listening the report, Dr. H.E.Sann Vathana mentioned that the Smart Classroom in RUPP acts as the best practice of collaborating ICT and higher education in Cambodia. As the most influential and flagship university, RUPP should take the lead in higher education innovation and boost all universities to have capacity training for teachers, and establish a sharing national MOOC resources bank. On the other hand, he was looking forward to bridging other 10 Smart Classrooms by the project and devoting more to the joint-launching of higher education resource platform by International Institute of Online Education (IIOE) globally.

Hassan is introducing facilities of Weidong Smart Classroom to the delegation.

Establishing Weidong Smart Classroom is also aligned with bringing innovation and enhancement in Cambodian higher education system. In this regard, Hassan met with Sok Tha, Director, Department of Information Technology (DIT), Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS). Hassan introduced the vision of cooperation between UNESCO-ICHEI and UNESCO, especially the long-term partnership between RUPP and UNESCO-ICHEI based on the Smart Classroom and IIOE. IIOE is highly consistent with “Data Center of Next Generation” project which is promoting in Cambodia. The director hoped to strengthen the cooperation with UNESCO-ICHEI and introduce IIOE to all universities, and boost the sustainable development of ICT application in Cambodian higher education.

Dr. Sok Tha, Director DIT, MoEYS, Cambodia and Hassan, UNESCO-ICHEI

On February 18, Hassan paid a visit to UNESCO National Office in Phnom Penh, and had a meeting with Mr. Sardar Umar Alam, Head of Office and Representative to Cambodia. The two sides had in-depth discussion regarding the potential cooperation of vocational education, life-long education, education resources, e-learning and capacity.

Mr. Sardar Umar Alam, UNESCO National Office in Phnom Penh, and Hassan, UNESCO-ICHEI

Mr. Vutha Lay, National Programme Officer, and Mr. Kimlay Leav, Education Programme Officer, UNESCO National Office in Phnom Penh, also had very productive discussion to harness the cooperation between UNESCO-ICHEI and UNESCO Cambodia. To witness the first-ever smart classroom in the history of Cambodia, both officers paid the visit to Weidong Smart Classroom facility at RUPP and put forward productive recommendations for RUPP team to synergize the effort of developing higher education resources within Cambodian’s national context.

Hassan visited UNESCO National Office in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

As a hub for Cambodian teachers’ ICT capacity building, Weidong Smart Classroom at Royal University of Phnom Penh will open a new phase of driving ICT innovation and integration in Cambodian universities. It is also a local support for UNESCO-ICHEI’s upcoming IIOE. UNESCO-ICHEI will continue to make the “Digital Education Link” along the “Maritime Silk Road” more closer, and share the best practices of combining ICT and higher education with more Asian and African countries to improve the quality of higher education and promote educational equity.