The Australian Centre for Education (ACE) on Wednesday held the official opening ceremony for its Tuol Kork Campus, with representatives from government, embassies, NGOs and multinational organisations, both public and private, in attendance.
Established by IDP Education in 1992 to provide English language training to UNTAC – United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia – personnel, ACE is widely regarded for its premier English language training delivery in Cambodia and the region.
ACE caters to more than 20,000 students each term in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and online through its virtual campus platform. Around 700,000 students representing 38 nationalities have studied at ACE over the past 30 years.
The Tuol Kork campus is one of six ACE centres operated by IDP Education in Cambodia, reflecting the continuing high demand for English language skills among young Cambodians and international non-native English speakers.
ACE Tuol Kork was operational in 2018, but due to the pandemic, the official opening formalities were delayed until now.
HE Dr Hang Chuon Naron, the Minister of Education, Youth and Sport, HE Pablo Kang, the Australian Ambassador to Cambodia, and Mao Sreng, ACE/IDP Education country director, presided over the ceremony.
Emphasising the importance of English language learning, the education minister said: "English is very important for students to gain knowledge, as a means of communication and as a bridge to study all other subjects. Mastering and having an enhanced command of English is very important to improve the quality of higher education in Cambodia and to pursue lifelong learning goals."
Referring to Cambodia's role as the chair of ASEAN this year, Chuon Naron said: "English is a language of ASEAN, and a good command of English is important to participate in ASEAN meetings and communiques. I would like to commend ACE for providing these essential English language skills to so many Cambodians for more than three decades."
Following a tour of the new campus, Ambassador Kang said: "During these 30 years, ACE has exceeded international standards by ensuring students have access to highly qualified teachers and world class technology such as that available here at Toul Kork.
"ACE has remained at the forefront of education innovation, especially during the early stages of Covid, and was the first major education institution in Cambodia to develop a fully functioning Learning Management System that allowed students to continue their learning online."
"This innovation is allowing ACE to manage ongoing corporate risks, especially those currently presented by the Omicron variant, by adopting a hybrid model of both face-to-face and online learning."
Commenting on ACE's growing reputation globally, the ambassador said: "Last year, ACE won the prestigious "PIEoneer Language Educator of the Year" award in London, and, given that it was selected by an international panel of 43 judges from leading universities, institutions, and professional bodies across 25 countries, I’m glad to say that ACE is truly recognised internationally as an institution of excellence."
Kang also reflected on the education institution's commitment to CSR: "ACE should be acknowledged for their corporate social responsibility through the social communities of the organisation and, through its student ambassadors, students and alumni, supporting the local community on education, environment, poverty and in times of national emergency.
"During the pandemic, ACE's provision of refreshments to frontline workers and the opening of a campus as vaccination centre was commendable."
Sreng said in his welcome remarks: “2022 marks 30 years of our operations and our contribution to the education sector in Cambodia through our English language teaching, IELTS testing and study abroad placement services.
"I’m delighted to lead a dedicated team to deliver world class education services to our students in Cambodia. We are also actively at the forefront of sharing best practices in the ELT industry through various international professional development forums, including the annual CamTESOL conference series.”
Currently, ACE offers both face-to-face and virtual English programmes for students, starting from children from eight years old, to adults and professionals.
The ACE Tuol Kork campus is also home to an IDP Study Abroad Resource Centre and the IELTS Cambodia Official Test Centre office.
Part-owned by Australian universities, IDP Education is a world leader in international student placement services, with a global network of 130 offices in 47 countries to assist students going to study in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the US, the UK and Ireland.
Established by the Australian government 53 years ago, IDP Education is also a proud co-owner of IELTS (International English Language Testing System), the world’s most popular English language proficiency test.