Architecture and engineering students from four top Phnom Penh universities are to focus their skills on designing buildings with convenience for persons with disabilities inbuilt in a new competition announced on July 1.
Organised by the Board of Engineers of Cambodia, the Disability Action Council Secretariat General, and Humanity and Inclusion (HI), 250 students from the Royal University of Fine Arts, Norton University, Institute of Technology of Cambodia and NTPI Institute are to take part.
Chhor Rada, the president of HI, told The Post on July 3 that the main purpose of the competition was to allow engineering and architecture students to compete in designing buildings with accessibility and convenience for persons with disabilities at the forefront.
He added that the competition would focus the students on understanding fully the concept of accessibility in design and to think about persons with disabilities.
“We want students from the Royal University of Fine Arts, Norton University, the Institute of Technology of Cambodia and NTPI Institute to try this standardised programme, and to take away all they learn to implement in their designs after they graduate,” he said.
According to Rada, students from the four higher education institutions can register for the competition from July 1-20.
Interested students who qualify can form teams of three or four. The winners will receive prize money and appreciation letters from the Board of Engineers of Cambodia, the Disability Action Council Secretariat General and HI, with the results made known to the public.
Sokun Theary, a Norton University lecturer who will lead students in the competition, told The Post on July 3 that the competition was incredibly important.
“This competition will alert the next generation of designers – especially those studying architecture and engineering – to think about accessibility for the disabled, elderly people and pregnant women because in the past we did not pay enough attention to them,” she said.
Sokhom Rithivuth, secretary-general of the Board of Engineers of Cambodia, said that with Cambodia’s tragic past, he fully supported the competition.
Rithivuth was speaking at the Technical Standards and Design Challenge on Physical Infrastructure, Accessibility for Person with Disabilities workshop on July 1.
“Cambodia having gone through devastating wars and a genocidal regime has left many consequences for society.
“These included a high rate of people disabled from the landmines and unexploded ordnance left behind from decades of war, while traffic and occupational accidents, malnutrition, disease and other factors had also led to a large number of persons with disabilities,” he said.
The government’s national development policy and “rectangular strategy”, which established the law on the protection and promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities, was promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni on July 3, 2009 in line with the Cambodian Constitution and international conventions.