“We expected well over 1,000 students but were not sure of the exact outcome, and it was pleasing to have about 1,700 students enrol,” he said.
However, he conceded that the school had been given a helping hand and there were more places yet to be filled.
“We had more than 1,000 students moving from the old school. Plus IDP Education, our parent company, has provided 200 scholarships to government workers to help support human resource development in Cambodia,” he said.
IDP Education opened the centre in the capital Phnom Penh, after its first Cambodian language school (launched in 1992, also in Phnom Penh) became oversubscribed.
The new facility features a study abroad centre, IELTS testing centre and CamTESOL office, and has plans to deliver an English pathway. It will also host the CamTESOL conference (previously held at the first school) – an IDP networking event for English language teachers, which attracts more than 1,500 attendees, including 400 Cambodian delegates and 100 from other Asian countries.
However, despite the promising first intake, Chea said competition in the ELT sector remained stiff.
“There are many English language schools in Phnom Penh, [and] at least 10 in the suburb where the IDP school is located.”
“Additionally, most universities in Cambodia are offering English language programmes and operating in English, so we don’t expect this campus to be full [in the near future],” he said.
IDP is one of the world’s largest student placement organisations and has operated English language schools in South East Asia since 1988. The company is active in other parts Asia too; read our story on its virtual student fair and university roadshow in India this month.