I am Ang Bun, the New Students Selection (NSS) Manager. I am a second-year student at Pannasastra University, majoring in Business Administration. When I was 6 years old, my parents got divorced. After my parents’ broke-up, I lived with my grandmother. In 2006, my grandmother passed away. Then because nobody supported me, I decided to be a monk to continue my studies. In 2017, I left the monkhood in order to find scholarship support and look for a job to pursue my studies.
I applied for the CRST scholarship three times – 2017, 2018, and 2019. In 2017 and 2018, I was not selected. Finally, in 2019, I was selected.
On behalf of NSS team, I would love to report the whole process of New Students Selection this year, 2020, to you.
Because of COVID-19, all the schools have been closed since April. Normally, the first stage of our selection process is to have a written test at the selected schools, however since the schools were closed, we had to adjust our plan. Fortunately by the time the schools closed, we already received the candidates’ application forms, so instead of gathering all the students to do the written CRST Entrance Tests, we reviewed all the 554 applications evaluated them using our newly created criteria -
Community Contribution – The students have already done some volunteering, even a little, to help others in society
Bright Students – Students who are making a strong positive impact in their family, village, and community. More than just helping the students, we also want to ensure the community see the students as an example of hard work and a “never-give-up” attitude. The students are economically challenged but still they never give-up on their education and work extra-hard to reach their goals and dreams.
Poverty – The students who truly need (NOT WANT) the support from us
After reviewing the 554 applications, we shortlisted 254 students for the second stage which is the oral interview with our team members. 61 students were then selected for the final stage of home visits, so our team could meet their families and see their living circumstance.
Following these three stages, the New Student Selection team (NSS), Senior Leadership Team (SLT), and Junior Leadership Team (JLT) debated to narrow down the number of students. This was the most challenging time to make a big decision for the life-changing opportunities for the new students. Putting all the emotions aside, we used our criteria and logic to help make a fair decision. Being from the same or similar backgrounds, our team could still feel emotional and connected to the students’ situations; however, to remain fair to all the students, the ultimate decisions were based on the majority votes. We sometimes felt deeply sorry for students when listening to their backgrounds. However, the decision must be decided based on the “NEED” – not the “WANT”.
After the debate with the relevant teams, we selected 28 students and sent their bios to our Founders. After the NGO Founders reviewed all students’ backgrounds, they came back to us with questions, feedback, comments, and advice – and after more discussions, we got back to them. The Founders then also debated among themselves to narrow down the number of students again. After all the discussion, evaluation, and debating, we finally selected 24 new students to join our NGO!!! We believe that these 24 students will be great future leaders of their community and our society!!
After informing the students of the results, we visited each student's home again to have their parents sign the CRST Student Agreement. The purpose of the agreement is to ensure that the parents continue to actively and emotionally support the students to study until they successfully graduate from university. The agreements were signed by the student’s parents, the village chief, and the NGO Manager.
In late August we celebrated our new students’ integration day to welcome them to our NGO.
We invited all the new students, their parents, and the whole CRST family to join the welcome meeting. Ramet, our NGO Manager, warmly welcomed everyone and our current students shared what they love most about CRST. The new student introduced themselves and expressed their feelings of joining the NGO and their commitment while they are in the NGO. We also invited three senior graduated students to share their life experiences since graduating from the NGO and to inspire our new students – the senior students also brought their parents who gave such emotional and inspirational speeches of how the power of education changed their children’s lives and their families’ condition. It was a very emotional morning……
I joined CRST in 2019. I have been holding the role of the NSS Manager for just 3 months, after being mentored by our Leadership Team, including Rith who was the previous NSS Manager and is now studying his Master Degree in Phnom Penh. Last year, I was one of the candidates who were interviewed but this year I interviewed other candidates. Last year I came here to change my life. Now through CRST, I empower myself, my friends and my community. I have had the amazing opportunity of joining CRST and now I am so excited and privileged to work in this department, to help change so many more lives!!
On behalf of all our CRST students, I want to say thank you to you, our sponsors, for all your support and for believing in us – without you, we wouldn’t have today…….