Born in a remote village near the Thai border, Suy Kosal has always harbored a curiosity for science and research. With the aim of exploring his passion in higher education, the 24-year-old studied hard until in 2016 he was offered a scholarship to major in Computer Science at the Royal University of Phnom Penh.
Kosal, originally from Battambang province, now works as general manager of a Japanese company based in Phnom Penh. He is also a co-founder of a digital project, E-Robot.
In 2018, Kosal came up with the idea of creating a technical project to provide people like him who are interested in technology with practical experiences and knowledge. The result is E-Robot, which has been serving these purposes.
‘’The project focuses on digital innovation, social engagement, education, and teamwork. We have been providing opportunities for students from various fields to unleash their potential,” he said. ‘’Since the start until now, around 1,000 students have joined the classes, which are related to robotics, web development, coding, and design.”
The E-Robot network currently has 23 members and 30 volunteers divided into eight teams that work together to share knowledge based on their specialization. At the same, Kosal said the project is looking for more volunteers to expand their scope of work.
“As of now, we are cooperating with three organizations to teach students and orphans ICT and robotics, and inspire them to love technologies more,” he said. “Everything is now widely connected with digital-based technology. I think we should pay more attention to digital and technological developments so we can develop our economy faster and better.”
During its four years of operation, the project has continually faced challenges, with finance and human resources the two main problems. “We need to spend our own budget to sustain our work as well as buy technology for learning. We do not have any financial support. That is a big problem for us to deal with,” he said.
Despite these challenges, Kosal said he still feels excited to see Cambodian youth working together and sharing knowledge with each other. With this, he said, E-Robot has joined various campaigns, including Barcam, Insign Tech, and Air and Tech show, to showcase the products they make.
Choem Thea, is a year three student majoring in Computer Science at Cambodia Academy Digital Technology (CADT).
The 21-year-old joined the E-Robot team in 2020 and is now the leader of the mobile team at E-Robot. He said his team mainly focuses on application development to serve study and learning purposes.
“Students who are interested in technologies can get access to all important lessons and information related to design, AI, web development, and coding,” he said. “With this, the application can also be used to control robotic operations.”
In 2021, the E-Robot team developed a robot that can be used with AI technology to recognize human hand signals in its operation. The main aim of this development is to promote AI to the public and the importance of this advanced technology.
It has been two years since Thea joined E-Robot. While he continues to work as a volunteer, like Kosal, he is grateful for what he is doing and the positive impacts it brings to society. ‘’I have gained more practical experiences regarding what I am studying, and it is even more exciting to share what I have learned with others,” he said.
The demand for ICT skills and occupations has significantly increased as Cambodia gradually turns its economy to digital-based. According to the Digital Assessment Skills report by Cambodia Development Resource Institute and Cambodia Academy of Digital Technology, demand for these professionals increased by 41 percent in 2021. It is estimated to rise by 45 percent in 2022.
‘’In terms of ICT occupations, the top five most required ICT occupations include ICT sales professionals, software and applications developers and analysts, database and network professionals, graphic and multimedia designers, information and communications technology operations, and user support technicians,” the report said.