Australia Awards – Cambodia

HE Mr Mak Ngoy Director General of Higher Education, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport
Updated: 2013

Planning for Cambodia’s higher education

Year-2000 graduate of the University of New England (Armidale), His Excellency Mr Mak Ngoy, views his responsibilities as Director General of Higher Education as having three distinct roles.

“First of all is the administrative job, involving the usual day-to-day work of looking at documents and papers from different sections and following up issues with my staff. This is routine work”, Mr Mak Ngoy explained. “The second role means I am very much involved in policy and strategy formulation for higher education development, including serving on several committees of the Ministry of Education, such as the legal committee and the policy formulation committee; this is my busiest role.” Mr Mak Ngoy is also a member of Governing Board of Regional Centre for Higher Education Development of Southeast Asian Misters Education Organization (SEAMEO RIHED).

Mr Mak Ngoy’s third responsibility involves supervising the $23 million World Bank Quality and Capacity Improvement for Higher Education Project. Born in the northern part of Cambodia in the mountainous and remote Ta Keo province, Mr Mak Ngoy came from a large family but lost almost all of his siblings, and his father, during the Khmer Rouge period.

“I feel I lost my childhood because I was about 10 or 12 years old during the Khmer Rouge regime - but I had a dream, in fact two dreams. First I wanted to be an agronomist, and second, I wanted to study abroad. And even though I didn’t fulfill my first dream to be an agronomist, I am still happy with my career as an educator.” 

When Mr Mak Ngoy first returned from his Australia Award in 2000, his Minister encouraged and supported him to become involved in high-level meetings in Cambodia and also across the region. The skills he had gained in his educational administration studies, particularly in policy formulation, management, and leadership in higher education, means that he continues to be involved in a wide range of education sector committees, planning and strategies.

“We are working on Vision 2030 for Higher Education, to link it to the government strategy called Cambodia 2030, which seeks to ensure that by the year 2030, Cambodia will become a high middle-income country.

Mr Mak Ngoy enjoys staying in touch with his colleagues and lecturers from his time at the University of New England.  

“I haven’t been back yet to my university in Armidale, but I have been to conferences in Australia and have met my supervisor on three occasions since graduating -  once in Australia, again at a conference in Paris, and just last month I met him in Kuala Lumpur.”