UP VOICE VOL.60 – March 2021

The Official Newsletter of the University of Puthisastra (UP)-Vol.60 March 2021 Download

UP Students volunteer at Pasteur Institute

UP is very proud in helping Cambodia’s effort in fighting COVID – thank you UP students and staff.

UP has been working very closely with the Pasteur Institute, CDC, WHO and Minister of Health by providing almost 200 students to help with laboratory testing and administrative tasks including track and trace.

We applaud their contribution for our university as well as our country. May all of their efforts yield a positive outcome.


UP Students volunteer at Pasteur InstituteStudent engagement – phoenix from the ashes of a COVID future?

By Ian Findlay, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Puthisastra

Originally published in Technology Insights (March 2021)

https://student-engagement-apac.educationtechnologyinsights.com/cxoinsights/student-engagement-phoenix-from-the- ashes-of-a-covid-future-nid-1371.html”>

2020 (and much of 2021) has been the year that COVID ripped apart societies and industries, including education, across the globe with many facing financial ruin. In the US, the American Council on Education (ACE) suggests $61 Billion is needed to address OVID damage with UK universities facing a shortfall of at least $11 Billion USD.

Prestigious universities have not been spared. The University of Michigan anticipates a pandemic-induced loss of up to $1 billion, while Harvard University is projecting a $750 million revenue shortfall.

It is now clear that COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the end of universities’ golden age. Many universities, with their fixed old-fashioned views of learning and engagement, over-reliance on international students to prop up finances and general complacency, are facing an extremely challenging future–assuming they can even survive. Universities have a simple choice—those that adapt may survive, those that don’t, won’t. Adapt to the new future or die.

Einstein said “In the midst of crisis, lies great opportunity.” Crises can also be a watershed for growth and this crisis can be timely opportunity to connect to what students (our customers) repeatedly tell us they actually want and need-Student Engagement.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs tells us that “belonging” is a fundamental need–even more important than prestige or accomplishment! Students (and the rest of us) want to feel valued, and that we belong. It has even been argued that we should forget university rankings, as a sense of belonging is the biggest factor in university choice and that the quality of personalized student learning and belonging will be key to future institutional success.

Can student engagement be the savior allowing universities to arise phoenix like from the ashes of a COVID future? We, at the University of Puthisastra (UP) a small private university in Cambodia, certainly think so.

“Universities have a simple choice—those that adapt may survive, those that don’t, won’t”

Other universities may support a variety of student engagement measures. UP, despite many, many challenges of providing high-quality education in one of the poorest countries in Asia ravaged by genocide, makes a major commitment to student-centered student engagement under 5 main themes:

1. Student communication

Genuine two-way dialog with students is key. How can we shape our joint future if we don’t communicate?

  1. Student Senate. Each year of each major elect representatives to the Student Senate who then elect Student Leaders. These Student Leaders meet regularly with university management and President to discuss issues, student suggestions and concerns.
  2. Direct Communication with President. Should students feel that other channels of communication may not be working or fear reprisal. Especially important in countries where dissent is discouraged.
  3. Welcoming Events – Big Launch, games festivals–UP hosts an annual “Big Launch” fun event, welcoming new and existing students to the new academic year. Includes games, cultural dancing, etc.
  4. Modern Mixed learning models — UP offers flexible learning models including synchronous and asynchronous delivery, problem-based and case based learning catering to a wide variety of learning styles including for theory (online, hybrid, flipped), hybrid for practical classes and experiential hospital based practice.
  5. Orientation week – an informal interactive welcome making that all important first impression a positive one.

2. Training

  1. Dedicated Learning and Teaching Department – focused on Student Outcomes. Leading annual reviews of both Curricula and Assessment of EVERY course across all faculties ensuring that content is relevant and modern, and assessment are appropriate.
  2. Teacher training for new technologies/skills (12 courses) – ensuring that teachers are up to date with contemporary and ragogical practices & technologies–challenging in a country where many teachers don’t even use email.
  3. Student training for new technologies/skills (13 courses) – ensuring that students can effectively engage with modern educational practices & technologies–challenging in a country where many students don’t have access to internet.
  4. Dedicated Learning facilitators (6) – provide group and individual learning support–providing ongoing group and 1-to-1 support to staff and students
  5. Customer Service training of all student-facing staff–ensuring the very best, welcoming and friendly customer service
  6. First Aid Training – free training for all staff and students

3. Student co and extra-curricular activities

  1. Student Clubs (Yoga, football, debate, chess, guitar, running, fitness)
  2. Student Program Clubs – dedicated clubs specific to each program e.g. Pharmacy Career Club so that students not only “belong” to university but belong to smaller “family” groups
  3. Student Missions – regular (monthly) trips providing aid, health checks to underprivileged groups. Promotes a sense of purpose, reinforces teamwork and giving back to community

4. Student Support

  1. Dedicated Student Support team – dedicated to improving student experience, organize student events, solve student problems, etc.
  2. Dedicated Student Mental Health Counsellor (free)
  3. PASS (Peer-assisted Student support), wider ranging than just PAL (Peer Assisted Learning) – scheduled drop-in support sessions run by senior students
  4. Learning Lounge – scheduled revision topics, run by senior students
  5. E-learning Centre – comfortable, learning area with free computers, laptops
  6. UPOP – University of Puthisastra Online Platform–built on Moodle–allowing 24/7 access to learning materials
  7. Technology Support – free, very fast, unlimited on campus Wifi
  8. Campus Facilities – coffee box, canteen, MiniMart, dental clinic, eye clinic, First Aid room

5. Student outcomes– career readiness focus

  1. English lessons– 4 years of free English tuition for international success. Challenging when many students don’t speak English
  2. Scaffolded curricula. Each year builds upon the previous year with common threads of critical thinking and soft skills, English. IT and research skills embedded within each course
  3. Career Corner – posting of jobs, CV & interview preparation support
  4. Annual Careers Conference – CV writing training, mock interviews
  5. Alumni Club – regular support network, connecting students and future employers

From the ashes of COVID, we can create a new future. But it will need commitment and strong, innovative leadership focused on delivering what students demand–not the outdated, traditional models of university life.

Seize the opportunity, create our new future today.

New program Bachelor of Science Research to be launched at UP!

UP will start this academic year with the new degree Bachelor of Science Research.

This 4-year non-health degree is multi-disciplinary program focused on scientific research and provides all the necessary skills and tools to make the student successful in a science or scientific research career. As Cambodia (and the World) is becoming more technologically advanced there is an increased need for science research in a variety of fields like chemical, pharmaceutical, food, industry, cosmetics, environmental biology, biomedical, agriculture, forensics, etc. This degree is for students that are passionate about discovering new things, hungry for knowledge, and want an international level curricula and teaching.

The program will start with a Foundation Year which provides Intensive English language learning throughout the year, focused
research skills to develop your critical and analytical thinking, and the fundamentals with general science courses.

In year 2 students will learn practical skills and knowledge in core sciences and interdisciplinary topics followed by specialized
research skills related to a selected specialization in year 3. In the 4th and final year advanced research techniques are taught with an application of these skills and knowledge to specific disciplines strengthening a more theoretical and creative basis
including exploring the “why” rather than just the “how” things are done.

In this final year students will apply their knowledge and skills to a defined research project linked to their specialization by
exploring the background, methods, results, conclusion and discussion of their project.

This degree will also provide practical hand on experience in internships in research institutions or research divisions within
companies, which will prepare the students for the job market.

With a Bachelor of Science (Research) you will be able to embark on a career in a range of occupations and industries in a diagnostic/research setting in one of the fields of natural sciences. These include work in food testing research, beverage industry, NGOs, hospitals, public policy, public health research, private research organizations etc., as well as being in pole position for jobs as Cambodia’s research capability expands.

Job opportunities with the Bachelor of Science Research degree are in the following areas:

  • Food and Beverage industry
  • Chemical manufacturing
  • Environmental research
  • Food testing research
  • NGOs
  • Public policy
  • Public health research e.g. Pasteur
  • Private research organizations
  • Pharmaceutical manufacturing
  • Agricultural research
  • Forensics
  • Universities
  • Quality Control in manufacturing (chemical, pharmaceutical, food and beverage)
  • Policy making/implementation in public sector (Health, Environment)
  • Policy making in private sector (Industry)
  • Researcher private sector
  • Researcher government sector
  • Researcher NGO
  • Science Technician
  • Educator (lecturer, program development)
  • Application specialist/ sales for company
  • Pursue higher degree (Masters, PhD)

The Bachelor of Science (Research) is a new, exciting, modern, international standard degree that can open the student’s world to a whole new range of opportunities in the science fields both in Cambodia and internationally. Researchers are in high demand across the globe and this degree will give graduates the ability to easily move into this exciting and rewarding field.

The Master in IT & Data Science Program is opening with 75% scholarship available!

The Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) is a 2.5 years program designed for students working in the ICT industry. It enables students to study in-depth, a range of advanced specializations in an emerging field in IT such as Python programming, Cloud Computing, DevOps, Cyber Security, Statistics, Data Visualization, AI, Machine Learning, Computer Vision… Besides building the technical skills, the Master’s program also emphasizes Business skills (Entrepreneurship, Business Analytics…) and Soft skills (Critical Thinking, Analytic ability, Leadership, Communication, Creativity…).

Register for the scholarship exam now!

Who can apply?

You have a Bachelor Degree and you are interested in Data science topics. However it is recommended to have a programming background to follow the program and a good English level.

Duration and schedule?

2.5 years. Week-end classes only, Saturday 2pm – 5pm, Sunday 8:50am-12pm & 2pm-5pm


At the University of Puthisastra, and / or Online using internal and external e-learning platforms

Which job does it prepare for?

Data Scientist, Data Engineer, Data Analyst, Business Analyst, Business Intelligence analyst

How to apply?

Join the telegram group for more information:https://t.me/upictmaster

When is the scholarship exam?

Scholarship exam date: 8th April 2021, 9am-11:15am.

We offer 75% and 50% scholarships depending on the results.


UP Alumni!

Congratulations Dr. Chuon Channarena, Research Officer in the Faculty of Medicine, for publishing “Prevalence of anti-hepatitis A antibodies in young children an their mothers in Cambodia”.

The manuscript, published in “Scientific Reports” (impact factor 3.9), describes the results of an investigation that started in 2017, when Hiroshima University, the WHO, the US CDC and the Cambodian Ministry of Health conducted a nationwide survey on antibodies against hepatitis A in 5 to 7-year-old children and their mothers.

The results have shown that the anti-hepatitis A virus antibody prevalence was 31.5% in the children and 91.2% in the mothers. These results suggest that the safety of water and food, and the overall hygiene and sanitation have improved dramatically in Cambodia in the last two decades.

Serey Awarded with a Certificate of Excellence by the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

Congratulations to UPs Learning and Teaching Officer, Serey NGUON, on being recently awarded with a Certificate of Excellence following his outstanding performances in a 2-week virtual webinar under the theme of Redesigning the Education in the New Normal hosted by the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in collaboration with the ASEAN Youth Volunteer Programme between 09th and 20th November 2020.

Among 470 applicants selected to take part in the webinar, approximately 5% of them, including Serey, were qualified for this type of certificate based upon the set criteria such as 90% attendance of the entire programme, evaluation form completion at the end of each training day, and active involvement in the webinar by doing some sorts of activities determined by the ASEAN Secretariat, asking questions and sharing viewpoints relevant to the topics.

For the 1st week of the programme from 09th to 13th November 2020, it consisted of the Launch of E-AYVP Rapid-fire Chat as well as 9 lectures conducted by experts in the related fields as below:

  • Lecture 1 – ASEAN Unity in Cultural Diversity
  • Lecture 2 – Communication in Crisis & Challenging Situation
  • Lecture 3 – Change Makers: The Role of Educators and Pedagogies
  • Lecture 4 – Digital Teaching in Digital Divide
  • Lecture 5 – Success Story: Education in Finland
  • Lecture 6 – New Paradigms of Volunteering
  • Lecture 7 – Leaders of the Future: The Roles & Responsibilities of Volunteers
  • Lecture 8 – Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on the Mental Health of Children; and
  • Lecture 9 – Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and the Agenda 2030

For the 2nd week between 16th and 20th November 2020, there were E-ASEAN Youth Volunteer Programme (E-AYVP) Opening and Closing Ceremonies, one Forum regarding Leave No One Behind in Post Pandemic COVID-19, The 1st AUN USR&S Webinar – Togetherness and Inclusivity: Community Engagement in the New Normal, and 5 Talks such as:

  • Talk 1 – ASEAN Community in Post Pandemic COVID-19
  • Talk 2 – Reshape Children’s Future: New Norms in Teaching Children
  • Talk 3 – STEM Education in ASEAN: Challenges and Development
  • Talk 4 – Leaders of The Future: Engage Youth for SDG Action; and
  • Talk 5 – Evolutionary Competency of Youth Volunteer Leaders

Serey was really pleased to take part in the webinar and be eligible for this Certificate of Excellence. He would like to end the story with one of his quotes for UP students: “Certificate may mean just a piece of paper for some people, yet for me it is an evidence to proof my qualification.”


Recently UP made four new Adjunct professorial appointments in recognition of service to the university.

From the Ministry of Health, Dr Hak Sithan DDS MSc, Deputy Director of the Department of Preventive Medicine, and Dr Chher Tepirou DDS MComDent, Head of the Oral Health Bureau, were both appointed Adjunct Associate Professors. Both have been very active supporters of UP for many years. They have been lecturers in community dentistry and cross infection control, supervisors and examiners for student theses, collaborators with UP staff in a number of important research projects, and advisors for our school and prison projects. They have regularly invited UP staff to join national working groups on oral health, and have helped us to develop an excellent relationship with the Ministry of Health and School Health Department at the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport.

Two lecturers from UiTM university in Malaysia were also invited to become Adjuncts recently. Associate Professor Dr Mas Suryalis Ahmad BDS Dr ClinDent, PhD (Melbourne) was appointed as an Adjunct Associate Professor at UP. Dr Mas is a Specialist in Special Needs Dentistry. Cambodia unfortunately lacks specialists in this important area of dentistry, which is concerned with the oral health of people who have an intellectual disability, who are elderly, or who are affected by other medical, physical, or psychiatric issues. Dr Mas presented our students with the latest information illustrated with many clinical examples, so that they will be able to competently manage these patients in the future. The second lecturer from UiTM is Dr Nur Aliana Hidayah Mohamed BBSc, MMedSc, PhD (Nottingham). Dr Alia is a pharmacologist and Head of Postgraduate Studies in the Faculty of Dentistry at UiTM. Dr Alia was asked to teach the Dental Pharmacology course at UP on-line in 2020. The course was of high quality and covered all of the areas which dentists need to know related to pharmacology. UP has appointed Dr Alia as an Adjunct Assistant Professor. We look forward to Dr Alia teaching a new class of students in the coming semester.

UP is very grateful for the contributions of all its Adjuncts as they help us make UP a top health sciences and IT university in Cambodia.

UPs 3rd Year Bachelor of Nursing students take final exams (Technical Practice (TP)

The purpose of the TP exam is to help strengthen the abilities of all nursing students to practice essential clinical techniques that are required to achieve really high quality standards and norms within Nursing and nursing processes. Whilst all nursing students are required to pass a Technical Practice Exam in each semester before they can progress to a hands-on clerkship at our various partner health facilities, they must also keep following the Ministry of Health Guidelines in respect of COVID-19.

These guidelines include always wearing a face mask, cleaning one’s hands frequently and maintaining a safe social distance, which means staying 2 metres apart at all times!

Our nursing students will become the next generation of leaders and role models for society, and that leadership begins with their studies and clerkships with UP. We wish our students every success in their clerkships!

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSNY4) students from UP are presenting their Oral Thesis Defense

This past month the research output from UP dentists was high and several published papers in High Impact journals. The first publication was an original research paper entitled “Comparative Evaluation of Different Numerical Pain Scales Used for Pain Estimation during Debonding of Orthodontic Brackets” and was published in the International Journal of Dentistry, a highly indexed journal by the Hindawi Group. Three of our dentists, Dr. Anand Marya, Dr. Adith Venugopal and Dr. Horn Rithvitou Horn contributed to the article. The International Journal of Dentistry is a Q2 ranked journal by the Scimago journal rankings and has an impact factor of 1.53.

A second article was a review paper entitled “The Use of Technology in the Management of Orthodontic Treatment-Related Pain”. It was published in the journal Pain Research and Management, another high impact journal by Hindawi publishers. Dr. Anand Marya and Dr. Adith Venugopal were the two authors involved in the planning and compilation of this paper. Pain Research and Management is another Q2 ranked journal with an H-index of 53 and an impact factor of 2.153. Many more publications are planned for 2021.

We encourage all UP lecturers and students to become more involved in research, as it can not only expand knowledge and answer important questions relevant to Cambodia, but also help them to advance in their careers as academics, and facilitate their acceptance for scholarships and postgraduate courses.


The Department of Laboratory Sciences and other faculties have been dealing with the many challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic in the first semester of 2020-2021.

Thankfully UP has a solution. Some theory classes were delivered by online learning similar to previous academic year, and some practical classes were postponed till the university campus is reopened.

Practical classes for Medical Laboratory Technology students are very important to improve students’ practical skills and experience for their careers in the health sector. The Clerkship program of year 2 and year 3 is six weeks of work experience organized by the university for the students. It plays a significant role in providing students with opportunities to observe hospital and laboratory room workflows, and students can learn about the real practice which is essential for their degree.

As everyone is in a difficult situation, we really appreciate the hard work, and courageous efforts of our students that started their Clerkship from February 2021 at Ang Duong Hospital, Sihanouk Center of HOPE and National Pediatric Hospital. They are doing a great job in the hospitals so they can become a good and qualified medical laboratory technician in the future.

Faculty of Dentistry Students Complete Course on Global Health Associate Professor Brittany Seymour, Harvard University

Last Semester Year 5 UP dental students studying Community Dentistry participated in a training course on Global Health which had been developed by Assoc Prof Brittany Seymour (Harvard University) and the Global Oral Health Interest Group of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH). The course, which has been used in more than 30 countries, uses the Global Health ‘starter’ curriculum which was designed for dental educators and students.

The Starter Kit consists of five modules:

  1. Global Trends,
  2. Global Goals,
  3. Back to Basics – Primary Care,
  4. Social Determinants and Risks, and
  5. Ethics and Sustainability.

For each module there is a video, a transcript, and additional learning resources.

The Global Health Starter Kit aims to provide practical support to equip the future generation of dental professionals with “starting” tools to address the tremendous burden of oral diseases worldwide and their consequences. It is very relevant to the Cambodian situation where oral disease levels are very high and resources to address the problems are very limited.

For each of the modules, students first watched the recorded videos (which were translated into Khmer by Dr Horn Rithvitou). At a later session (lead by Prof Callum Durward) the key points of the session were further discussed with the students, who were encouraged to ask and answer questions. Students were later assessed on their understanding of the material.

The last session focused on Volunteerism which is currrently a hot topic in Cambodia. Most students did well throughout the course and there are plans to award certificates of achievement once the students are back on campus.

UP Pharmacy continues to invest in equipment

Despite challenges during the Covid pandemic, UP Faculty of Pharmacy has continued to invest in laboratory equipment costing around USD 70,000 per year.

Last week, three new pieces of equipment arrived to upgrade pharmacy laboratories to become practice and research centers which response to national and international curriculum.

  1. Planetary mixers, are multi-purpose equipment used for whipping and mixing and are used in drug formulation.
  2. Clevenger oil extraction apparatus, is a tool used for essential oil extraction, this technique uses temperature to separate the aromatic oil from an organic source. This apparatus will be used in medicinal plants-based practice and research activities.
  3. Soxhlet extraction apparatus, is commonly used for liquid-solid extraction method and is mainly suitable for the extraction and separation of solid samples. This apparatus will be used for medicinal plants-based practice and research activities.

This equipment will boost medicinal plants research activities, and expand the practice of pharmaceutical technology as well as provide opportunities for students and a channel for international research collaboration.

The Faculty of Pharmacy is proud to continue developing its laboratory every year to improve teaching and research quality.


Denriche Asia has been a partner of UP for the past 5 years. Headed by CEO Ms Ai Yamazaki, Denriche Asia has supported the Faculty of Dentistry in several important ways. They send experienced dentists from Japan to teach our dental students in a range of areas. They also fund a program in the UP Dental Clinic which provides free dental services for vulnerable Cambodian children. And thirdly, each year they sponsor two UP dental students to participate in a study tour to Japan. In fact, two students have already been chosen to go to Japan once the Covid situation is under control.

Ms Ai will shortly be returning to Japan where she will spend a year working with the company, before returning to Cambodia again in 2022. Last week the Dean and Deputy Dean of Dentistry invited Ms Ai for lunch to thank her for her help over recent years, and to discuss future collaborations between UP and Denriche Asia. We wish Ms Ai all the best and look forward to her return.

Pharmacist CPD training on stock managements for drug and medical supplies

UP is officially recognized as a continuing professional development provider for pharmacists in Cambodia through a Memorandum of Understanding. CPD is a huge contribution to pharmaceutical sector, and eternally to the health and well-being of the people as it is maintaining appropriate experience in the pharmacy practice, keeping up-to-date with continuing education and professional competency and undertaking appropriate development and training opportunities that are relevant to the pharmacy practice.

So far, Pharmacy faculty has provided 2 rounds of CPD trainings for Cambodian pharmacists. The third round is currently in planning stage.

Last week, UP had conducted 2 different virtual session trainings on stock managements for drug and medical supplies with 149 pharmacists who currently working in different fields such as community pharmacy, hospital pharmacy, industry pharmacy, education and laboratory. By the end of the training, participant would be able to receive 5 CPD points through testing at the end of the session with the following outcomes.

  1. Create procurement cycle for community pharmacy.
  2. Create stock or bin card for stock management.
  3. Set maximal and minimal stocks.
  4. Precast the demand of drug and medical supplies in order to proceed the procurement.
  5. Create inventory control by using Excel.
  6. Make a list of inventory and create physical inventory cycle.
  7. Write a good inventory report for drugs and medical supplies.