UP VOICE VOL.46 – August 2020

The Official Newsletter of the University of Puthisastra (UP)-Vol.46 August 2020 Download

UP Ready to Reopen

UP has been busy preparing the campus for the safe return of students.

When students return to campus, they will notice quite a few changes:

  • increased online learning to keep staff and students safe
  • temperatures will be checked before entry is permitted on to campus
  • hand sanitizer at gate entry, in classrooms and in the toilet areas
  • the wearing of masks will be compulsory for everyone on campus
  • health information is featured on dedicated signage in all classrooms, laboratories and around campus
  • there are crosses on seats and along paving to ensure social distancing of at least two metres
  • laboratories and classrooms have been rearranged to provide seating for fewer students in each classrooms, labs and other enclosed spaces at any one time
  • our Dental Clinic continues to operate in compliance with Covid-19 clinic guidelines including thorough, careful cleaning, alongside students and staff wearing full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in addition to screens being deployed between chairs.

UP has complied fully with the list of requirements provided by the Ministry of Education, Youth & Sport (MOEYS) and is ready to open to students once we receive permission to do so from the MOH.

We hope to bring students back to campus, especially to complete the lab sessions they have missed during Semester 2. Later, when Semester 1 of the new Academic Year begins, we will continue to limit numbers on campus to comply with all ministerial guidelines. Some classes will be on campus while others will continue online. New teaching resources are being purchased to enhance both in-person and online teaching and learning.

We continue to work hard to ensure that our campus continues to provide a safe environment for our students, staff and lecturers, and we are really looking forward to our return to campus.

WHAT’S UP ON CAMPUS -16-17-18 September 2020, pchum ben days                              -24 september 2020, constitutional day

UPs high quality Online Learning officially recognized by MOEYS

UP takes great pride in delivering excellent learning experiences for our students. UP’s students and staff are active and engaged members of our vibrant learning community. As part of our commitment to our values of Honor Self, Respect Others and Serve Society, UP enthusiastically responds to challenges and opportunities, most recently by the temporary closure of our campus due to COVID-19 pandemic.

We have accelerated and expanded the use of our very own University of Puthisastra Online Platform (UPOP) – based on Moodle. We also rapidly trained many of our staff and students to use Google Meet, Gmail, as well as UPOP, to support and continue students’ learning even though they cannot come to the campus. We remain absolutely committed to the development of the best Medical, Dentistry, Nursing, Midwifery, Counselling, Pharmacy and Information & Communication Technology professionals in Cambodia.

We are very proud to have continued online learning during COVID-19 close-down allowing students to minimize disruptions.

UPs revised Foundation Year approved by MOEYS

Foundation is called Foundation Year because it does just that. It provides a very strong Foundation for future learning – making sure that students “learn how to learn” as well as provide them with foundation sciences they need for their studies and future careers. To make UP students the Leaders of Tomorrow. UPs revisions which have been approved by MOEYS give much more emphasis to 21st Century skills of teamwork, critical thinking and research – which are so critical for success.

Foundation Year also includes 8hrs per week of English tuition – which is so critically important for todays health and IT professionals. English is the international language of success and UP provides this FREE OF CHARGE – no need to pay extra to study elsewhere. UP continues to excel in research which cultivates students to deepen their understanding of their career, and to critically evaluate the many changes of modern life.

Strengthening students’ learning ability and changing teaching methods through modern Teaching and Learning for the 21st Century remains a central part of the university’s core strategy.

UP Faculty Of Dentistry Holds Its First Online Thesis Defence

This week the Faculty of Dentistry held its first online thesis defence for three candidates – Pheach Ratanak, Sor Keam Ou and Heng Srey Touch. The topic of their thesis was “Comparison Of GIC Fissure Sealants With Different Finger Press Times” and involved 200 children from one Phnom Penh school which was enrolled in the Seal Cambodia project. The clinical trial was conducted over a three month period and sought to determine whether variations on one important step of the clinical procedure (fissure sealing) affected the outcome (retention of the sealants). The findings of their study were significant and have not been previously reported in the internal literature. They plan to publish the results in the future. The defence was chaired by the Head of the UP Research Committee, Dr Tineke Water, and other examiners were Assistant Professor Soeun Sopharith (Deputy Dean), Dr Chher Tepirou (Chief Dental Officer from MOH) and Dr Tort Borany (lecturer in preventive dentistry).

The defence was attended by over 50 staff and students. The three candidates presented well for 20 minutes, and then were asked questions from the examiners for another 30 minutes. The final score for their thesis was “Pass with Distinction” – the highest award so far given for a dentistry thesis.The whole process ran smoothly thanks to the excellent organization by thesis coordinator Dr Kong Sophannary. Congratulations to the three candidates who can now apply to get their graduation certificate.

First MD Online Thesis Defence at UP

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Faculty of Medicine has joined the other Faculties at UP and moved all the MD thesis defenses online through Google Meet. The online defence follows the same format and includes the same components previously required for in-person defence, and is organized via two different links, one for the public and the other for the examiners.

The Faculty of Medicine organized nine Online Thesis Defence events in August and September 2020. The first defense was conducted on August 4th, 2020, with Professor Callum S. Durward as Chair of the Examination Committee and Assistant Professor Duong Dararith, Dr. Mao Heng and Dr. Kim Bunna as members. The title of the dissertation was “Descriptive Study Of Acute Cholecystitis Patients In The Gastroenterology And Hepatology Department, Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital”; the primary supervisor was Dr. Chea Ong and the co-supervisor Dr. Leng Nara. The students Chhun Raothborum, Hor Kimleng and Dy Sereyrith successfully passed with credit.


The University of Puthisastra ICT Department organized a professional workshop and visit by the private company EZECOM, one of the country’s leading Internet Service Providers (ISP). During this informative session, EZECOM Supervisor of Candidates experience and Manager of Business Intelligence met with UP ICT students from Foundation Year and Year 2.

The objectives were for the students to learn about the business environment, market expectations and hiring criteria, as well as the technical and professional skills required by IT companies. Many technical fields were covered including Network Security, Enterprise Network, IoT and Cloud Infrastructure.

A specific session was dedicated to the importance of jobs in data such as Data Architect, Database Administrator, Business Analyst, Data Scientist and Data Analyst. UP’s Master in IT programme with its specialisation in Data Science offers routes into these vital career roles. In addition to sharing information about their products and technical environment, EZECOM also presented their mission, values and activities within the workshop, and our students were able to participate in a Q&A session.

This is the third company visit organised by UP’s ICT department, following the previous professional workshops with SLASH, a software development enterprise, and BLOC, an online delivery service. These presentations and workshops form an important part of a professional career orientation series aiming to introduce our students to various companies in order for them to select their specialization in Year 3 of their studies.


I was born and grew up in the province. There was very little information about how to continue into university life when I passed Grade 12. It was a huge challenge firstly to decide to continue my education and then to decide which university and what subjects to take. My decision was made in the end based on support from my brother.

In 2010, I graduated with a Bachelor of Psychology. My overwhelming thought on graduation was that “I could be a good listener for people around me to help them share thoughts and seek emotional support from me.”

The starting point of my working journey was actually during my university life, as a student. I joined many workshops and training and did volunteer work and internship in a wide variety of workplaces in many different positions because I wanted to explore what the best fit was for me within the field of mental health.

In 2010, I was employed as a counsellor in an international organization that provided counselling to the survivors of those people who had experienced trauma as a result of slavery, trafficking, or abuse. Seeing the huge need and at the same time the limited human resources in mental health, I pursued and completed a Master of Counselling and Clinical Psychology in 2017.

Since 2018, I have worked at the University of Puthisastra. This provides me with a great opportunity to be able to share my knowledge and skills through education in leading our two-year Diploma in Health Counselling. This diploma helps contribute to the ongoing development of human resources within mental health. I am also able to provide mental health support on a large scale to students, staff, and other NGO partners. With the support of my colleagues, supervisors and the UP management team, I really enjoy working here.

Weekly PharmaCareer Club

PharmaCareer Club aims to orient pharmacy students to choose the right career pathway based on their skills and potential and provide pharmacy students with successful experiences from real life pharmacy professionals. In the last three weeks, PharmaCareer Club with 50 participants, invited three honorable speakers: Mr. Sor Sampiseth, Mr. Phalla Sovanrith and Miss Soeung Keo Panha. Mr. Sor Sampiseth, who owns four branches of “Our Pharmacy” pharmacy in Siem Reap, graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree. After graduation, he worked for the Student Affairs department and as a Lecturer in Physiology & Pharmacology for one year. With his knowledge and long-term vision especially in the field of community pharmacy, he opened “Our Pharmacy” in 2015. The experiences he shared provide a great footprint for students to learn from.

Mr. Phalla Sovanrith is an active pharmacist who graduated in Bachelor of Pharmacy from the University of Puthisastra and a Bachelor of Education from the Institute of Foreign Languages at the Royal University of Phnom Penh. He worked for two years as a Pharmacy Rotation Officer in the Faculty of Pharmacy here at the University of Puthisastra. Currently, he works as a Program Manager at the Vennue Foundation. He was one of the speakers at PharmaCareer Club and shared his experiences related to “Building A Stronger Workforce In Pharmacy Through Working For The Vennue Foundation”. It was very interesting, particularly for those students who may wish to work for NGOs. Miss Soeung Keo Panha has been very successful in her academic life. She has completed both a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree and a Master of Public Health and Education degree. She also recently graduated with a Doctoral Degree in Public Health. Currently, she is working as a Project Officer with an NGO. She works closely with Cambodian migrants in Thailand. She advised our club members that: “We, as pharmacists, have to make choices for our future careers. Pharmacists do not work only in pharmacies, we have many options”. Her advice was influential as it widened the thoughts of our pharmacy students.

Dental Students Enjoy Problemt Based Learning Online

Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is a teaching method in which complex real-world problems are used as the vehicle to promote student learning, as opposed to direct presentation of facts and concepts (e.g. traditional lectures). In PBL students solve problems collaboratively over a number of sessions, with guidance from facilitators. The process involves different students gathering information to answer questions related to the problem from textbooks, journals and other sources, and then sharing the findings in order to collaboratively solve the problems at hand.

At UP we have been using PBL in the classroom for many years. Students meet in small groups to work through a series of problems – mostly complex clinical cases – related to what they are studying that semester. When UP closed to students last semester, we had to adapt the PBL classes and do them online. In Dentistry, the two facilitators, Dr Chray Mengkheng and Dr Sao Soksan assisted by Dr Horn Rithvitou, conducted a survey at the end of the course to evaluate student perceptions and how online PBL compared with face-to-face PBL.

38 students participated in the survey. 95% agreed that overall PBL was a positive experience and a good way to learn, although many had intermittent problems with their internet connections. 100% said the topics were interesting. 87% said they learnt a lot from studying the PBL work. 85% said their group worked hard to solve the problems. 77% said that teamwork and communication between group members was good. 62% said they prefered online PBL to face-to-face PBL, and 75% said they would be happy to do it again. 83% said they preferred PBL over lectures. Reasons given for liking PBL included: interesting topics, a focus on clinic-based problems, and enjoyed meeting classmates. The main complaint was the sometimes erratic internet connection and difficulty in accessing full journal articles online.

Overall the online PBL has been a great success, and we will use it again in the future. We hope to present the results of the study at the Southeast Asian Association for Dental Education (SEAADE) online conference later this year and perhaps publish a paper in an international journal.

Visit By Our Chancellor And A Delegation Of Korean Consultants

This week UP was visited by our Chancellor, His Excellency Sok Puthyvuth, who is also Secretary of State for the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MPTC), along with Professor Chhem Rethy (UP Board Member), and a delegation from the MPTC, which included several consultants from Korea. The MPTC currently runs a project on the Establishment and Operation of Communication Platforms based on ICT and Media, which is being supervised by H.E Sok Puthyvuth.

The purpose of the visit to UP was to learn about UP’s online platform and how UP has successfully implemented an enhanced online learning programme for students. During the visit our Coordinator for Teaching and Learning, Mr Boy Vibol made a presentation which demonstrated our UPOP platform and other Teaching and Learning software. This was followed by a presentation by Mr Kham Sokheng, the Director of the IT Department, who explained the mechanics of the system and demonstrated how UPOP is being used online by all of our students and academic staff.

The delegation toured the campus and saw our computer resources in the library, as well as our Server Room. We hope that the visit proved enjoyable and provided useful information for this important project, part of which will involve developing an online platform alongside educational content for MoEYS. We look forward to collaborating further in the future.

UP participates in Online Workshop For Academic Deans

Mr. Chhea Sophearom, Assistant Dean of Faculty of Pharmacy was selected to attend a training workshop on the topic of ‘Academic Deans: Roles, Challenges, and Solutions.’ The main purpose of this programme is to develop the capacity of Higher Education management, particularly for Deans, Vice-Deans, Department Heads, and Internal Quality Assurance (IQA) Officers throughout the country. It was fully funded by DIES NMT Germany and co-organized by Phnom Penh International University (PPIU) and the CamEd Business School. This project has two major phases: the first workshop was physically held on 25-27 November 2019 at CamEd Institute. The second workshop (online) was held at PPIU on August 5-7, 2020.

Through these two workshops, the participants will be able to perform the following tasks:

  1. Discuss Higher Education management concepts, theories and practices
  2. Compare and contrast the roles of Academic Deans in local, regional, and international Higher Education contexts
  3. Discuss issues and challenges faced by Academic Deans
  4. Develop realistic Personal Action Plan (PAP) and approaches to implement them effectively, in order to assure quality within their faculties and educational institutions
  5. Build professional networks for future collaborations with local and international institutions.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Workshop II could not be conducted physically. As a result, it was held online using Zoom. The workshop was very interactive among participants and trainers. It focused on instructional leadership, IQA, case studies on university leadership, experiences as an HEI President, case consulting: Deans and Leadership, and PAP presentations. The workshop was concluded successfully within an enjoyable learning environment.

“We are standardizing our educational system together by learning and sharing. It was a great opportunity to learn from our local and international experts and work with Deans and Senior Deans from different universities across Cambodia.” said Mr. Sophearom.