Among 10 other students in a classroom, Samlot Rina and Rith Sokhaneath smile as their two-wheeled toy car runs smoothly via remote control, after they spent 30 minutes installing small parts under their teacher’s instruction.
“It is brilliant, scientific and strange. It is just small parts with microelectronics that we installed together and we can navigate via a phone app,” Rina says, navigating the palm-sized car on the table.
Robotics is one of the new science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) subjects that is set to go into next year’s curriculum at Preah Norodom Primary School in Phnom Penh.
“We have been approved by the Ministry of Education to test the new subject of RoboThink at Preah Norodom Primary School in 2019-2020 for a one-year trial. We start with four classrooms from grade one to four with approximately 200 students,” says Kuy Pan Chhey, CEO and Founder of the Riellionaire Group, which is introducing RoboThink to Cambodian schools.
“The reason we bought this programme from the US is because it fits in with the policy and vision of the Cambodian government and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport in developing Stem education in primary and secondary schools.”
“So this programme will help improve and comply with Industry 4.0, something the world and Cambodia are paying more attention to in order to develop,” Pan Chhey tells The Post.
Industry 4.0 refers to the ongoing technology and automation revolution transforming economies around the world.
“RoboThink uses materials and technology in Industry 4.0. In fact, we have lessons for robot construction, such as robots that are moved automatically, navigated by sensors, music and light. We also have coding programme for kids and young adults,” Pan Chhey says.
Pan Chhey graduated from the Institute of Technology of Cambodia in 2011 before working in marketing for private companies, as well as honing his entrepreneurial skills.
With five years’ experience importing branded products from overseas for private companies, he decided to launch his own company to import and export products.
“I worked a lot in different industries, including importing brand products. I thought that Cambodia, especially the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, are pushing Stem programmes.”
“I saw this demand and I wanted to help the ministry reach their policy of bringing Stem to primary and secondary schools,” he says.
Operating in 10 countries at more than 30 academic institutes around the world, Cambodia is the second country in Southeast Asia after Malaysia, and the fifth country in the Asia-Pacific, in which RoboThink’s programme has been introduced. The programme works with children from six to 14 years of age.