Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 25

Cambodian Undergraduate Students and AEC 2015

Awareness and Perspectives of Cambodian Undergraduate Students on the ASEAN


Economic Community 2015

KEO Nimol
LIM Muyngim
PHORK Visal
SITHIKUN Vandavid
SUOR Leangsronn

IS303, Introduction to Research


THEAM Sokvibol
January 27, 2014

Cambodian Undergraduate Students and AEC 2015

Abstract
The upcoming ASEAN Economic Community, known as AEC, will significantly affect
Cambodia, particularly Cambodian undergraduate students who will be in the front line to face
the opportunities and challenges of ASEAN Economic Community in 2015. With this concern,
this research aims to study 540 Cambodian Undergraduate students from 8 well-known
universities in Phnom Penh, by cross tabulating their level of awareness and attitude toward AEC
according to their gender and major. The questionnaires distributed to the respondents are written
in English and are divided into three major sections, namely awareness or understanding,
perceptions, and channels they use to acquire knowledge related to AEC, as the three main
objectives of this written report.
Overall, according to the study, more male respondents are aware of AEC than female
respondents and IR respondents have more understandings about the issues than students of other
majors. Furthermore, perspectives of the majority of respondents toward AEC are positive
though many of them believe that Cambodia cannot compete with other senior member states in
terms of human resources and English deficiency of Cambodians will be a challenge for
Cambodian undergraduate students to join AEC. Hence, as most respondents do not prefer
reading books or newspapers as means to acquire information, increasing awareness and
enhancing English proficiency of Cambodian undergraduate students via websites and social
media are necessary for preparing them to join AEC.

Cambodian Undergraduate Students and AEC 2015

Acknowledgement
First of all, we would like to express sincere gratitude to our families especially our parents who
offer us a good life, fulfilled by warmness and happiness. They always give helpful advices and
encourage us to study hard with all means of support.
In addition, we would like to thank our teachers who provide invaluable knowledge in order to
help us reach our goal. Particularly, we really appreciate our lecturer THEAM Sokvibol who has
spent his precious time sharing his research experiences and ideas and guiding us with close
attention. Without his guidance, this report would not have been completed.
Last but not least, we are thankful to all of friends and students from Institute of Foreign
Languages, Pannasastra University of Cambodia, Royal University of Law and Economics,
Economics and Finance Institute, University of Health Sciences, Institute of Technology of
Cambodia, Royal University of Phnom Penh and the University of Cambodia, who helped us
with the questionnaire distribution and spent their time filling our questionnaires without any
hesitancy. Their contributions have made our reports done with a fruitful result.

Cambodian Undergraduate Students and AEC 2015

Contents
Abstract ........................................................................................................................................... 2
Acknowledgement .......................................................................................................................... 3
I.

Introduction ............................................................................................................................. 5
1. Research Questions (R), Objectives (O), and Hypothesis (H)............................................. 6

II.

Literature Review................................................................................................................. 7
1. Awareness of ASEAN People on ASEAN Integration 2015............................................... 7
2. The Perspectives of ASEAN People toward ASEAN Economic Community 2015 ........... 8
3. How Do ASEAN People Expose to the Awareness of ASEAN Economic Community .... 9

III.

Research Methodology ........................................................................................................ 9

IV.

Findings.............................................................................................................................. 10

1. Awareness of Respondents toward AEC ........................................................................... 10


2. Perspectives of Respondents toward AEC ......................................................................... 13
3. Channels Used by Respondents to Acquire Information about AEC ................................ 17
V.

Implications........................................................................................................................ 17

VI.

Limitations and Recommendations.................................................................................... 19

VII.

Conclusion ......................................................................................................................... 19

Bibliography ................................................................................................................................. 20
Appendix ....................................................................................................................................... 22

Cambodian Undergraduate Students and AEC 2015

I.

Introduction

Post-Cold War, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, commonly known as ASEAN,
has shifted much of its attention to economic development of its member states. In 1997,
ASEAN leaders agreed on a plan to turn ASEAN into a stable, prosperous, and highly
competitive region with equitable economic development, and reduced poverty and socioeconomic disparities (ASEAN Secretariat, 2008, p. 5). Later on, a clear goal was set forth
during the Bali summit in October 2003, where all the ASEAN leaders concurred that the
ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) would be the goal to be achieved by 2020 for the
realization of the regional economic integration (ASEAN Secretariat, 2008, p. 5).
Surprisingly, the deadline was changed to 2015 during the 12th ASEAN Summit in 2007
with the ASEAN leaders demonstrating their robust dedication to speed up the formation of
ASEAN Economic Community (ASEAN Secretariat, 2008, p. 5). With the deadline of the
ASEAN Economic Community in sight, the ten ASEAN member states are preparing
themselves to make certain that they are ready for the upcoming economic integration.
Yet, the challenge is all of the processes of the establishment of AEC are conducted through
government institutions; this means the information about AEC might not be well shared
among the people of each state, significantly the less developed nations in the region with the
likes of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV).
Like the other three nations in the CLMV, Cambodia will undoubtedly face both challenges
and opportunities once the integration takes place. Significantly, the minute the AEC kicks
off, the people of Cambodia are the one who are going to be confronting those challenges and
opportunities, while the government is merely going to play a facilitating role in easing the
integration. Therefore, it is pivotal to investigate the level of awareness on AEC of the
Cambodian people, notably University Students, who will not only be the one responsible for
bringing this country forward, but also the one who will be in the front line to face those
challenges as well as chances. Moreover, not only is their level of awareness vital, but their
perspectives toward the integration and channels they use to gain their awareness will also be
of significant importance, which this study is going to cover as well.
This study also possesses some limitations. Due to the time constraint and shortage of
financial resources, this study will only be conducted on undergraduate students from eight
universities in Phnom Penh, the name of which will be mentioned in the later part of this

Cambodian Undergraduate Students and AEC 2015

paper. Furthermore, because this study adopts the cross-sectional study design, it does not
measure the changes in the level of awareness of the undergraduate students over time as the
questionnaire will be distributed only once.
This study will benefit several stakeholders, significantly the government. With the data
gained from this study on the level of awareness of Cambodia Undergraduate Students, the
government can establish the policies stimulating the understanding of AEC among
Cambodian Undergraduate students as well as other ordinary Cambodians especially those in
the rural areas accordingly to ensure the readiness of them once the integration takes place on
December 31st, 2015. Moreover, the findings from this study will demonstrate the level of
awareness of Cambodian undergraduate students, and the community can then prepare itself
accordingly in many aspects, significantly jobs. Additionally, universities and other
educational institutions can acknowledge the current level of understandings of Cambodian
Undergraduate students toward AEC and their academic needs to include necessary skills into
academic programs. Besides, this report will help to increase the awareness of Cambodian
Undergraduate students on AEC in order to prepare themselves in terms of skills and
understanding of other ASEAN member states for the upcoming integration.
1. Research Questions (R), Objectives (O), and Hypothesis (H)
R1: How much are Cambodian undergraduate students aware of AEC?
R2: In what way do Cambodian undergraduate students perceive AEC?
R3: What are the channels Cambodian undergraduate students use to acquire their awareness?
O1: To investigate the awareness of Cambodian undergraduate students toward the upcoming
AEC.
O2: To define the perspectives of Cambodian undergraduate students on the AEC.
O3: To find out the channels Cambodian undergraduate students use to acquire their
understanding on AEC.
H1: Male respondents have higher understanding than female respondents.
H2: Students majoring in International Relations have higher awareness than students of
other majors.
H3: Most respondents have positive perceptions toward AEC, while minority of respondents
regard AEC as a threat.

Cambodian Undergraduate Students and AEC 2015

II. Literature Review


1. Awareness of ASEAN People on ASEAN Integration 2015
The awareness of ASEAN Undergraduate Students on ASEAN Integration 2015 varies from
countries to countries within ASEAN. According to Thompson & Thianthai (2008), in
Vietnam, more than forty percent of the students reckon that they are very familiar with
ASEAN (p. 10). More than 50 % of students in Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia claimed
that they were familiar with ASEAN, while the percentage of which in Brunei and Singapore
is 50%. Surprisingly, in Myanmar, 90 % of students responded as having a very little or no
familiarity and knowledge about ASEAN (Thompson & Thainthai, 2008, p. 10).
Subject of Studies and Genders also play some roles in determining the level of students
awareness of ASEAN. To demonstrate, a previous study proves that International Relations
students have some understandings on ASEAN Economic Integration and ASEAN in general.
According to the previous research conducted in 2012 by the Department of International
Studies students, studying at the Institute of Foreign Languages, Royal University of Phnom
Penh, on this issue of ASEAN integration proves that students studying IR major at the
Department of International studies have the average mean of 2.6 compared to 1.7 that of
Bachelor of Arts students when it comes to the awareness of ASEAN Integration. (Ly, Din,
Tem, Chhim, Sakhan, Sithikun, & Hong, 2012, p. 11). Furthermore, the findings from
Indraswari study proves that among the total of 451 Indonesian students majoring in
International Relations, 398 of them equal to 88.25% could correctly identify all the names of
the ASEAN member states (n.d., p. 5). Unexpectedly, only 375 of those IR students (83.1%)
were able to correctly answer what is the full term of ASEAN, and merely 339 of them
(75.25%) could accurately tell the year when ASEAN was established (Indraswari, n.d., p. 6).
Even fewer of them were able to answer what the three pillars of ASEAN consist of, with
only 310 students (68.7%) being able to answer correctly (Indraswari, n.d., p. 6).
When it comes to gender aspect, male students have a better understanding of ASEAN
integration than female students. The previous research conducted in 2012 by the Department
of International Studies students, studying at the Institute of Foreign Languages, Royal
University of Phnom Penh, on this issue of ASEAN integration proves the case; Average
mean of male respondent is 2.27 while womens average mean is only 2.09 (Ly, Din, Tem,
Chhim, Sakhan, Sithikun, & Hong, 2012, p. 11). Another study by Hang demonstrates male

Cambodian Undergraduate Students and AEC 2015

students have the average score of 65 compared to female students score of 50 when they are
asked to answer questions about ASEAN (2012, p.21).
2. The Perspectives of ASEAN People toward ASEAN Economic Community 2015
Working on correlation between public opinions and European Integration, in 2006, Lauren
McLaren argued that the process toward the integration is mainly affected by what societies
think; in other words, a positive perception will be an advantage to the community building,
whereas a negative perception by the societies will be a hinder for regional integration
(Indraswari, n.d., p.4).

Likewise, in the case of AEC, public perspective toward the

upcoming economic integration in the late 2015 has been one of the major studies for
ASEAN researchers. According to some studies, ASEAN people have contradictory
perspectives toward AEC.
In 2013, the ASEAN Secretariat released a publication, titled Surveys on ASEAN
Community Building Effort 2012. According to the publication, although the general public
perceive ASEAN integration as a chance that will create more employment opportunities and
allow them to travel more freely within the region, some of them concern that they will lose
job because of more competiveness in local job market due to labor migration (The ASEAN
Secretariat, 2013, p.1).
Despite that publication, there are some studies conducted in some countries of ASEAN.
Among those studies, there was a survey conducted in five major cities in Indonesia, which is
an important country for the development of ASEAN, both politics and economies, due to her
large population. Overall, about 84% of Indonesians hold positive perceptions toward the
creation of AEC, where they can take advantages from other ASEAN member states, while 3%
of them do not support and think of it as the declaration by ASEAN leaders, which does not
benefit general public, and another 13% of them neither support nor disagree toward AEC
(Benny & Abdullah, 2011, p.60).
In addition, surveys about perspectives toward AEC were also conducted on students. One of
the study about International Relations students perception towards ASEAN integration by
Ratih Indraswari found that most of Indonesian students believe that ASEAN integration is
needed and they express full support on the process to achieve an ASEAN Community
(Indraswari, n.d., p.11). Moreover, two surveys conducted in Cambodia in 2012 by a group of
juniors and another senior student from Institute of Foreign Languages (IFL) about

Cambodian Undergraduate Students and AEC 2015

Cambodian students positions toward ASEAN Economic Integration. Both studies claimed
that the majority of respondents do agree that AEC is necessary for Cambodian economic
development and will benefit them as individuals. (Ly, et al., 2012, p.14, & Hang, 2012, p. 40)
3. How Do ASEAN People Expose to the Awareness of ASEAN Economic
Community
Another most important part is that which channels ASEAN people get this awareness from.
Promote ASEAN identity building in support of an ASEAN Community by undertaking
initiatives and activities. The mission consist of various promotions such as interaction forum,
workshop and community immersion activities, scholarships and youth exchange programs,
skills improvement and outlook, development of youth website. (ASEAN Foundation)
Specifically, looking to Thailand strategy, The government has adopted the eight-point
strategic plan prepared by the National Economic and Social Development Council. The plan
outlines the strength and weakness of Thailand's overall capacity to engage the one ASEAN
community. (Chongkittavorn, 2012) Both government and local social media are widely
known as the main actors in promoting the ASEAN Integration 2015 overall.

III. Research Methodology


The population of this study consists of all Cambodian undergraduate students in Cambodia.
Using the quota sampling design, 540 undergraduate students who are sophomore and juniors
from eight recognized universities in Phnom Penh, namely the Institute of Foreign Languages
(IFL), Passtra University of Cambodia (PUC), Royal University of Law and Economics
(RULE), Economics and Finance Institute (EFI), University of Health Sciences (UHS),
Institute of Technology of Cambodia (ITC), Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) and
the University of Cambodia (UC), are the subject of this research. This study will investigate
the awareness and attitude of respondents toward AEC based on their genders and majors,
namely International Relations, Business and Accounting, Education and Literature,
Information Technology, Engineering and Architecture, and Medicine.
Due to the time constraint and limitation of resources, cross-sectional study is the most
suitable design by only one time contact with the respondents. Furthermore, adopting
retrospective-prospective study design, respondents are required to recall their past
knowledge on AEC and their expectation of AEC once it arrives. Last but not least, non-

Cambodian Undergraduate Students and AEC 2015

10

experimental design is preferred by observing the effect, level of awareness of people, and
tracing back to the causes, majors and genders.
The questionnaires are self-completion questionnaires that consist of four different sections,
the first section of which is about basic information of respondents, and from the second
section to the fourth section are about their awareness, their perspectives, and the channels
they use to acquire the information of AEC, respectively. 470 questionnaires are distributed
to students in different universities manually, and students will be asked to self-complete the
questionnaires right away and to hand in the questionnaires to the distributors once they
finish. Another 70 questionnaires are delivered via esurv.org and respondents are required to
complete and submit their answers online. After that, this study will employ SPSS Statistic
software to analyze data by adopting Frequency approach to study the popularity of channels
they use to acquire information of AEC and Cross-tabulation approach to study the impacts
of their genders and majors on their awareness and perspectives toward AEC.

IV. Findings
Table 1 Characteristics of Respondents by Major Categories and Gender
Gender

Number &
Percentage

Major Categories

Female

Male

International Relations (IR)

100 (25.71%)

Business & Accounting (B&A)

127 (32.65%)

Education & Literature (E&L)

115 (29.56%)

175

214

Information Technology (IT)

40 (10.28%)

(45%)

(55%)

Engineering & Architecture (E&A)

41 (10.54%)

Medicine (Med.)

54 (13.88%)

1. Awareness of Respondents toward AEC


Table 2 Awareness of Respondents by Gender
Statement
1. There are three pillars of the ASEAN Community:
ASEAN Political-Security Community
ASEAN Economic Community (AEC)
ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community

Female
S
A

Male
S
A

Total
S
A

57

21

79

19

136

40

33%

12%

37%

9%

35%

10%

Cambodian Undergraduate Students and AEC 2015


2. On December 31st, 2015, ten ASEAN countries will
come together to create a community, called AEC.
3. The main purpose of AEC is to combine the markets of
the ten ASEAN countries together to become one market.
4. ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) is a trade agreement
by the ASEAN supporting local manufacturing in all
ASEAN countries.
5. The purpose of AFTA is to increase trade and investment
among ASEAN member states.
6. The Initiative of ASEAN Integration (IAI) was created
to make all ASEAN countries develop equally.
7. When AEC is established, businesses in ASEAN can
export their products to any country in ASEAN without
restriction and with low or no Tariff (a form of tax).
8. AEC will allow ASEAN investors come to invest in any
country in the region freely and they (investors) will be
treated like the local investors with the same set of
domestic regulations.
9. Skilled labors (Accountants, doctors, engineers) can
travel freely to find jobs across the ten ASEAN nations.
10. Unlike skilled labor, labors that have no or low skills
are not able to travel to find jobs freely in other ASEAN
countries once the AEC 2015 arrives.
11. ASEAN will introduce e-ASEAN in the community to
improve the communication between government officials
and the public and facilitating the business activities of
businesspersons.

11

59

40

84

63

143

103

34%

23%

39%

29%

37%

26%

66

51

72

67

138

118

38%
64

29%
25

34%
86

31%
15

35%
150

30%
40

37%

14%

40%

7%

39%

10%

67
38%

22
13%

78
36%

30
14%

145
37%

52
13%

60

17

75

27

135

44

34%

10%

35%

13%

35%

11%

59

39

80

45

139

84

34%

22%

37%

21%

36%

22%

56

30

78

30

134

60

32%

17%

36%

14%

34%

15%

57
33%

49
28%

87
41%

55
26%

144
37%

104
27%

47

12

57

22

104

34

27%

7%

27%

10%

27%

9%

47

10

61

17

108

27

27%

6%

29%

8%

28%

7%

(S: Some Knowledge, L: Lots of Knowledge)


Illustrated in table 2, among the total respondents of 389 undergraduate students, 175 of
whom are female and the remaining 214 are male. Surprisingly, when asked about the issue
relevant to the free flow of skilled labor (Q9), only 33% of female respondents responds as
having some knowledge on the issue, while the percentage for that of male respondents is
41%. However, when it comes to the classification of A lot of knowledge female students
respond as having a superior understanding on the definition of AFTA (Q4), with the
percentage of 14%, while that of mans is merely 7%. Overall, both male and female
answerers reply as having a lot of knowledge the most on the main purpose of AEC (Q3)
with the proportion of 30%, the highest figure among the other questions.

Cambodian Undergraduate Students and AEC 2015

12

Table 3 Awareness of Respondents by Major (S: Some knowledge, A: A lot of knowledge)


Statement
1. There are three pillars of the ASEAN Community:
ASEAN Political-Security Community
ASEAN Economic Community (AEC)
ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community
2. On December 31st, 2015, ten ASEAN countries will
come together to create a community, called AEC.
3. The main purpose of AEC is to combine the markets of
the ten ASEAN countries together to become one market.
4. ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) is a trade agreement
by the ASEAN supporting local manufacturing in all
ASEAN countries.
5. The purpose of AFTA is to increase trade and
investment among ASEAN member states.
6. The Initiative of ASEAN Integration (IAI) was created
to make all ASEAN countries develop equally.
7. When AEC is established, businesses in ASEAN can
export their products to any country in ASEAN without
restriction and with low or no Tariff (a form of tax).
8. AEC will allow ASEAN investors come to invest in any
country in the region freely and they (investors) will be
treated like the local investors with the same set of
domestic regulations.
9. Skilled labors (Accountants, doctors, engineers) can
travel freely to find jobs across the ten ASEAN nations.
10. Unlike skilled labor, labors that have no or low skills
are not able to travel to find jobs freely in other ASEAN
countries once the AEC 2015 arrives.
11. ASEAN will introduce e-ASEAN in the community to
improve the communication between government officials
and the public and facilitating the business activities of
businesspersons.

IR

B&A

E&L

IT

E&A

Med.

49

17

52

22

32

11

11

49%

17%

41%

17%

28%

10%

23%

3%

27%

7%

15%

2%

41
41%
38
38%

34
34%
37
37%

40
31%
52
41%

45
35%
43
34%

40
35%
46
40%

21
18%
26
23%

17
43%
16
40%

7
18%
8
20%

18
44%
7
17%

13
32%
17
41%

22
41%
17
31%

8
15%
15
28%

44
44%

18
18%

48
38%

20
16%

39
34%

12
10%

12
30%

3
8%

18
44%

1
2%

19
35%

1
2%

44
44%
42
42%

21
21%
13
13%

60
47%
46
36%

19
15%
10
8%

34
30%
37
32%

12
10%
11
10%

10
25%
14
35%

5
13%
2
5%

15
37%
13
32%

3
7%
6
15%

19
35%
13
24%

4
7%
8
15%

41
41%

26
26%

49
39%

33
26%

39
34%

22
19%

11
28%

6
15%

19
46%

8
20%

14
26%

10
19%

46

17

43

25

38

15

16

13

17

46%

17%

34%

20%

33%

13%

40%

5%

32%

12%

31%

11%

34
34%

35
35%

45
35%

47
37%

39
34%

27
23%

17
43%

7
18%

22
54%

4
10%

19
35%

12
22%

31

11

39

10

28

11

10

31%

11%

31%

8%

24%

6%

18%

5%

27%

10%

19%

11%

31

10

38

28

10

14

31%

10%

30%

7%

24%

3%

25%

0%

20%

10%

26%

11%

Cambodian Undergraduate Students and AEC 2015

13

According to table 3, among the 389 respondents consisting of 6 majors, students majoring in
Engineering and Architecture have the lowest percentage of awareness when it comes to the
issue relevant to the main purpose of AEC (Q3) under the classification of Some Knowledge,
with the proportion of just 17%, by far the lowest percentage across the six majors. When asked
about their level of understanding of the free flow of investment (Q8), 46% of International
Relations Students, the top percentage, responds as having some knowledge, while only 31% of
students majoring in Medicine has some knowledge on the same issue. Furthermore, 54% of
Engineering and Architectures students has some knowledge on the subject of Free Flow of
Skilled labor (Q9), the highest amongst the six majors. Moreover, under the classification of A
lot of knowledge, 17% of students from IR and Business and Accounting majors reply that they
have a lot of knowledge on the matter of the Three Pillars of ASEAN (Q1), whereas only 2% and
3% of Medicine and Information Technology students respond as having a lot of knowledge on
this issue, respectively. Surprisingly, Business and Accounting students have a lot of knowledge
on the Deadline of AEC (Q2), with the highest proportion of 35% compared to just 15% of
Medicine students. Additionally, 20% of Business and Accounting students demonstrate that
they have a lot of knowledge on the free flow of investment (Q8), while merely 5% of IT
students indicate their strong awareness on the same subject. When questioned about the free
flow of skilled labor (Q9), Business and Accounting students share the highest percentage of
37%, with Engineering and Architecture Students having the least proportion of having a lot of
knowledge on the issue, the percentage of whom is just 10%. Last but not least, Medicine
students respond as having a lot of knowledge on the issue of e-ASEAN (Q11) having the
percentage of 11%, while none of IT students answer as having a lot of knowledge of this issue.
2. Perspectives of Respondents toward AEC
Table 4: Perspectives of Respondents by Gender

Statements
The establishment of AEC was just an initiative of ASEAN leaders that
do not think about public opinion.
AEC will boost up Cambodias economic development and diversify its
economy.

Female
Male
(Agree) (Agree)
71
(41%)
136
(78%)

108
(50%)
155
(72%)

Total
Agree
179
(46%)
291
(75%)

Cambodian Undergraduate Students and AEC 2015


Cambodia can attract more Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) when
AEC comes to existence.
AEC will discourage Cambodian domestic producers to invest.
Cambodia can increase the quantity of rice export to other ASEAN
member states when AEC is established.
When AEC is created, Cambodia can get more tourists to visit
Cambodia.
AEC will help increase more jobs for Cambodians.
AEC can help generate more tax revenues for government.
AEC will help improve human resources of Cambodians
When Cambodia joins AEC, Cambodia will be more easily affected by
the regional crisis, especially financial crisis.
Free flow of skilled labors from other ASEAN member states will make
Cambodians job market become more competitive and increase
unemployment.
Cambodias human resource still cannot compete with other ASEAN
member states.
English proficiency of Cambodia is still low, which will be a threat or a
challenge for Cambodia to join AEC.
AEC is more like an opportunity than a threat for you personally.
You support Cambodia to join AEC.
You are ready for AEC.
Universities in Cambodia should include ASEAN course in the
curriculum of all majors to make students understand more about
ASEAN.

151
(86%)
80
(46%)
148
(85%)
157
(90%)
117
(67%)
97
(55%)
137
(78%)
137
(78%)

170
(79%)
106
(50%)
162
(76%)
176
(82%)
132
(62%)
123
(57%)
159
(74%)
147
(69%)

321
(83%)
186
(48%)
310
(80%)
333
(86%)
249
(64%)
220
(57%)
296
(76%)
284
(73%)

147
(84%)

155
(72%)

302
(78%)

122
(70%)
125
(71%)
131
(75%)
140
(80%)
102
(58%)

156
(73%)
145
(68%)
157
(73%)
157
(73%)
147
(69%)

278
(71%)
270
(69%)
288
(74%)
297
(76%)
249
(64%)

157
(90%)

187
(87%)

344
(88%)

14

Table 5: Perspectives of Respondents by Major

Statement
The establishment of AEC was just an initiative of
ASEAN leaders that do not think about public
opinion.
AEC will boost up Cambodias economic
development and diversify its economy.

IR
B&A E&L
IT
E&A Med.
(Agree) (Agree) (Agree) (Agree) (Agree) (Agree)
29
(29%)

60
(47%)

55
(48%)

13
(33%)

24
(59%)

29
(54%)

74
(74%)

100
(79%)

74
(64%)

31
(78%)

33
(80%)

39
(72%)

Cambodian Undergraduate Students and AEC 2015

15

83
(83%)
40
(40%)

104
(82%)
57
(45%)

92
(80%)
62
(54%)

32
(80%)
21
(53%)

34
(83%)
25
(61%)

45
(83%)
23
(43%)

78
(78%)

102
(80%)

89
(77%)

30
(75%)

35
(85%)

42
(78%)

88
(88%)
62
AEC will help increase more jobs for Cambodians.
(62%)
49
AEC can help generate more tax revenues for
government.
(49%)
80
AEC will help improve human resources of
Cambodians.
(80%)
When Cambodia joins AEC, Cambodia will be
72
more easily affected by the regional crisis,
(72%)
especially financial crisis.
Free flow of skilled labors from other ASEAN
80
member states will make Cambodians job market
(80%)
become more competitive and increase
unemployment.
72
Cambodias human resource still cannot compete
with other ASEAN member states.
(72%)
English proficiency of Cambodia is still low,
67
which will be a threat or a challenge for Cambodia
(67%)
to join AEC.
71
AEC is more like an opportunity than a threat for
you personally.
(71%)
89
You support Cambodia to join AEC.
(89%)
61
You are ready for AEC.
(61%)
Universities in Cambodia should include ASEAN
90
course in the curriculum of all majors to make
(90%)
students understand more about ASEAN.

111
(87%)
90
(71%)
83
(65%)
97
(76%)

92
(80%)
68
(59%)
60
(52%)
85
(74%)

35
(88%)
26
(65%)
26
(65%)
29
(73%)

35
(85%)
24
(59%)
22
(54%)
28
(68%)

46
(85%)
34
(63%)
30
(56%)
42
(78%)

89
(70%)

86
(75%)

31
(78%)

31
(76%)

42
(78%)

101
(80%)

84
(73%)

33
(83%)

29
(71%)

39
(72%)

92
(72%)

80
(70%)

33
(83%)

30
(73%)

36
(67%)

88
(69%)

86
(75%)

28
(70%)

28
(68%)

31
(57%)

99
(78%)
105
(83%)
93
(73%)

76
(66%)
79
(69%)
67
(58%)

32
(80%)
29
(73%)
24
(60%)

31
(76%)
30
(73%)
29
(71%)

43
(80%)
33
(61%)
30
(56%)

113
(89%)

92
(80%)

36
(90%)

38
(93%)

50
(93%)

Cambodia can attract more Foreign Direct


Investments (FDIs) when AEC comes to existence.
AEC will discourage Cambodian domestic
producers to invest.
Cambodia can increase the quantity of rice export
to other ASEAN member states when AEC is
established.
When AEC is created, Cambodia can get more
tourists to visit Cambodia.

According to the table 4, in overall, majority of respondents have positive perspectives toward
the establishment of AEC although about 46% of all respondents believe that it was just an
initiative by the ASEAN leaders that do not involve public opinion. While 83% of respondents
think that AEC will help Cambodia attract more FDIs, 48% of them reckon that AEC will

Cambodian Undergraduate Students and AEC 2015

16

discourage Cambodian domestic producers to produce and 43% of them believe that AEC will
not help the Cambodian government generate more tax revenue.
More female respondents are positive about the impacts of AEC toward Cambodia than male
respondents. As seen in table 4, 78% of female respondents agree that AEC will help boost up
Cambodias economy, but only 72% of male respondents have the same idea. In addition, over
85% of them believe that Cambodia can attract more FDIs and increase quantity of rice export to
other member states, while less than 80% of male respondents do have the same perceptions on
these statements.
Defining their perspectives based on their majors, more respondents from the major of Education
and Literature seem to have negative views on AEC than respondents of other majors. Only 64%
of them agree with the statement that AEC will help boost Cambodias Economy, whereas at
least 70% of respondents from all 4 other majors and up to 80% of respondents majoring at
Engineering and academic programs are all about improving English proficiency, they have the
highest percentage of respondents (75%) who believe that English proficiency of Cambodia is
still low to compete with other Architecture do. Similarly, while 80% of respondents of IT and
Medicine students perceive AEC as an opportunity, there are only 66% of Education and
Literature respondents not perceiving it as a threat, which again has the least percentage of
respondents that have positive perspective. Surprisingly, even though respondents from
Education and Literature whose member states, when Medicine respondents who are studying in
French have the highest percentage of respondents (43%) that do not believe so.
As mentioned earlier, female respondents have higher percentage of respondents perceiving AEC
positively. However, talking about their readiness, more male respondents are ready than female
respondents. About 69% of male respondents think that they are ready for the upcoming
economic integration, whereas only 58% of female respondents confirm their readiness since 84%
of them are fear that AEC will make Cambodias job market becomes more competitive and
increase unemployment due to free flow of skilled labors from other member states. Studying
about their readiness according to the major they are currently pursuing in their university, as
illustrated in table 5, more respondents who are majoring at Business & Accounting (73%) and
Engineering & Architecture (71%) are ready than respondents of other majors, particularly

Cambodian Undergraduate Students and AEC 2015

17

respondents majoring at Medicine (58%) have the least respondents who believe they are ready
for joining AEC in 2015.
3. Channels Used by Respondents to Acquire Information about AEC
Table 6: Channels of Information
Channels
Website
Social Media
Television
Newspaper
Books
Words of Mouth

Kinds of Sources
(%)
56.6
53.7
42.9
25.7
29.8
28.0

The most Useful


Sources (%)
63.8
56.8
35.2
17.5
16.2
15.4

As research question 3 asks in what ways that Cambodias undergraduate students use to acquire
the knowledge of ASEAN Integration 2015. The study shows that the most preferable ways for
students are through websites (56.6%), through social media (Facebook) (53.7%), and on
television (42.9%). Notably, there are a comparable percentage of students utilizing books
(29.8%), newspaper (25.7%), and words of mouth (28.0%) to acquire their understanding of
AEC. The study also proves that the most useful sources among the sources that they are using
are through television (35.2%), website (63.8%), and social media (56.8%). In contrast, the least
useful sources are books (16.2%), newspaper (17.5%), and words of mouth (15.4%). The other
result from the study also proves that most of the students are willing to know more about
ASEAN Integration with the percentage of 96.1%, while few other students (3.9%) are not
interested in the matter. (See table 6)

V. Implications
When it comes to awareness based on gender, male has a better awareness than female students.
The study also proves that students majoring in international relations have the highest
understanding on the ASEAN Economic Integration 2015. These findings is in line with the
previous finding of the research conducted in 2012 by the Department of International Studies
students, studying at the Institute of Foreign Languages, Royal University of Phnom Penh, on
this issue of ASEAN integration. Information Technologys students, in contrast, have the least

Cambodian Undergraduate Students and AEC 2015

18

awareness on AEC, while Medicine Students have the slightest of edge over IT students on the
comprehension of AEC. Furthermore, Hypothesis 1 and 2 of this study are supported based on
the findings. In accordance to this study, it is recommended that Cambodian Universities having
majors other than international relations should include more courses about ASEAN to boost the
awareness of the undergraduate students as their understandings of this significant issue are still
limited proven by the findings of this study.
According to this study, similar to other ASEAN people, majority of respondents who are
undergraduate students in Cambodia perceive AEC as an opportunity more than a threat, which
is parallel to the previous two studies conducted in Cambodia. Nonetheless, this study also finds
that most respondents think that Cambodias human resource cannot compete with other senior
member states and free flow of skilled labor will increase unemployment in Cambodia.
Moreover, most of them think that the English proficiency of Cambodians are still low compared
to other member states, which prove the validity of the findings of the publication by the
ASEAN Secretariat that English deficiency is still a problem for Cambodia to join AEC.
Noticeably, even most of respondents who are majoring in Education and Literature do not
believe their English Proficiency can compete with citizens from some member states in ASEAN.
As a result, advancement of skills needed to join ASEAN and English proficiency improvement
should be one of the most important agendas that universities and the Cambodian Government
should take into account in order to prepare Cambodian undergraduate students for maximizing
their opportunities to join AEC in the late 2015.
The fact that the channels used to acquire the understanding about AEC seem to stand out the
most through technology. As now, the technology advancement, using television, websites, and
social media are very popular. Furthermore, the most significant part to look at is that the desire
of Cambodian undergraduate students wanting to know more about ASEAN Economic
Integration is almost at the top of the edge. This shows positive attitude that Cambodian
undergraduate students are so keen on learning more about AEC, which will come into existence
in 2015. However, students prefer to just being reluctant and having fun while they are learning
about AEC. Students are way less interested in going to search and learn about AEC by reading
books and newspaper, and students do not even like to share the knowledge from words to words
by talking.

Cambodian Undergraduate Students and AEC 2015

19

VI. Limitations and Recommendations


This research study has several limitations and challenges. First, the limitation on the sample size
population. The study is conducted on only groups of undergraduate students at eight universities
in Phnom Penh, which means it cannot be generalized to all Cambodian undergraduate students
toward their awareness and perspectives on the AEC in 2015. Thus, the latter study should better
conduct on the similar topic for the population of all undergraduate students as a whole. Second,
this research study is conducted within limited timeframe of one semester and with our group
lacking of experience relating to research techniques, the result from this survey would be
analyzed according to those limitations with the report that cannot assume to the awareness and
perspectives on the AEC 2015 of all undergraduate students with such a short time period. Hence,
the next study should have longer time period to produce a well complete report. Third, some
respondents from RUPP, RULE, UHS, and ITC have low English proficiency, so they could not
understand some of technical terms used in our questionnaire, which requires our distributors to
translate one by one. Therefore, any future study should try to design the questionnaire both in
English and Khmer version.

VII. Conclusion
In brief, based on the study, more male respondents are aware of AEC than female respondents.
This study also proves that International Relations respondents have more understandings about
the issues than students of other majors, while respondents of Medicine and Information
Technology. In addition, perspectives of majority of respondents toward AEC are positive
though they, at the same time, possess some negative aspects. Many of them believe that
Cambodia cannot compete with other member states in terms of human resources, and low
English proficiency of Cambodians will be a challenge for them to join AEC.
As a result, the Cambodian government should play a role in increasing the awareness of
Cambodian undergraduate students, especially women, through sharing more information about
AEC via websites and social media. Educational institutions like universities should include
ASEAN course into academic program and enhance English proficiency of students to prepare
them for future challenges when AEC comes into existence.

Cambodian Undergraduate Students and AEC 2015

20

Bibliography
ASEAN Secretariat (2008). ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint. Retrieved from
http://www.asean.org/archive/5187-10.pdf
ASEAN Secretariat (2013). Surveys on ASEAN community building efforts 2012. Jakarta:
ASEAN Secretariat.
Benny, G., & Kamarulnizam, A. (2011). Indonesian perceptions and attitudes toward the
ASEAN Community. Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, 1(30), 39-67. Retrieved
from http://journals.sub.uni-hamburg.de/giga/jsaa/article/download/410/408
Chey, E. (2008, July 30). Cambodia: The status of Khmer women. Retrieved December 1, 2013,
from http://www.mekong.net/cambodia/women.htm
Chongkittavorn , K. (2012, November 19). Why Thailand is crazy over AEC.
Retrieved January 1, 2014, from http://www.nationmultimedia.com/opinion/WhyThailand-is-Crazy-over-AEC
Filemon, A. (n.d.). Promoting ASEAN among the youth. Japan: ASEAN Foundation.
Indraswari, R. (n.d.). Higher educations contribution to ASEAN Community. Retrieved from
ICIRD website:
http://www.icird.org/publications?task=file&action=download&path=%5BDIR_PUBLIC
ATIONS_PAPER%5D05_ratihindraswari_fullpaper.pdf
Hang A. (2012). The level of awareness of Cambodia youth toward ASEAN.
L.Riguer, M. G. (2012). ASEAN 2015: Implications of people mobility and services. Retrieved
from Institute for Labor Studies website: http://ilsdole.gov.ph/wpcontent/uploads/2013/01/Riguer-ASEAN-2015-Implications-of-People-Mobility-andServices.pdf
Ly V., Din K., Tem O, Chhim S., Sakhan P., Sithikun V., & Hong N. (2012). The knowledge of
Cambodian undergraduate students on ASEAN Economic Integration in 2015.

Cambodian Undergraduate Students and AEC 2015

21

Plummer, M. G., Chia, S. Y., Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, & East-West Center (2009).
Realizing the ASEAN Economic Community: A comprehensive assessment. Singapore:
Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.
Thompson, E. C., & Chulanee, T. (2008). Attitudes and awareness towards ASEAN: Findings of
a ten-nation survey. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Retrieved November
8, 2013 from
http://www.aseanfoundation.org/documents/Attitudes%20and%20Awareness%20Toward
%20ASEAN.pdf
Wilsons, F. L. (2013, October 7). 5 challenges to ASEAN businesses in 2015
Retrieved November 13, 2013 from http://www.philstar.com/businesslife/2013/10/07/1241776/5-challenges-asean-businesses-2015

Cambodian Undergraduate Students and AEC 2015

22

Appendix
Questionnaire (Instrument)
We are the juniors of Department of International Studies (DIS) at Institute of Foreign
Languages (IFL), who are taking Research course this semester. Currently, we are conducting
the research related to Cambodian Undergraduate Students and ASEAN Economic
Community (AEC), as the fulfillment of our course. We hope you can spend some of your time
to complete this questionnaire since your participation can help us to finish our research. At last,
we sincerely appreciate and thank for your participation.
1. Gender:
Female

Male

2. Where are you studying? (Can be more than 1)


EFI:
IFL:
ITC:
PUC:
RULE:
RUPP:
UHS:
Others:

Major: _________________________________
Year: __________
Major: _________________________________
Year: __________
Major: _________________________________
Year: __________
Major: _________________________________
Year: __________
Major: _________________________________
Year: __________
Major: _________________________________
Year: __________
Major: _________________________________
Year: __________
Universities: ____________________ Major: _______________ Year: _______

3. Your English Proficiency Level:


Advanced
Intermediate
Elementary

Upper Intermediate
Pre-Intermediate
Beginner

4. Have you ever taken ASEAN course at your university?


Yes

No

To what extent you know about the following statements.


1 = No Knowledge on the issue
2 = Little Knowledge on the issue

3 = Some Knowledge on the issue


4 = A lot of Knowledge on the issue

Cambodian Undergraduate Students and AEC 2015


Do you know about the statements?
5. There are three pillars of the ASEAN Community:
ASEAN Political-Security Community
ASEAN Economic Community (AEC)
ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community
6. On December 31st, 2015, ten ASEAN countries will come together to
create a community, called AEC.
7. The main purpose of AEC is to combine the markets of the ten ASEAN
countries together to become one market.

23
4

8. An important objective for the establishment of AEC is to reduce the


economic gaps between the ASEAN member states.

9. ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) is a trade agreement by the ASEAN


supporting local manufacturing in all ASEAN countries.
10. The purpose of AFTA is to increase trade and investment among ASEAN
member states.
11. The Initiative of ASEAN Integration (IAI) was created to make all
ASEAN countries develop equally.
12. When AEC is established, businesses in ASEAN can export their products
to any country in ASEAN without restriction and with low or no Tariff (a
form of tax).
13. AEC will allow ASEAN investors come to invest in any country in the
region freely and they (investors) will be treated like the local investors
with the same set of domestic regulations.
14. Skilled labors (Accountants, doctors, engineers) can travel freely to find
jobs across the ten ASEAN nations.
15. Unlike skilled labor, labors that have no or low skills are not able to travel
to find jobs freely in other ASEAN countries once the AEC 2015 arrives.
16. ASEAN will introduce e-ASEAN in the community to improve the
communication between government officials and the public and
facilitating the business activities of businesspersons.

To what extent you agree with the following statements.


(SA = Strongly Agree, A = Agree, D = Disagree, SD = Strongly Disagree)
Do you agree to the statements?
17. The establishment of AEC was just an initiative of ASEAN leaders that
do not think about public opinion.
18. AEC will boost up Cambodias economic development and diversify its
economy.

SA

SD

Cambodian Undergraduate Students and AEC 2015


19. Cambodia can attract more Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) when
AEC comes to existence.
20. AEC will discourage Cambodian domestic producers to invest.
21. Cambodia can increase the quantity of rice export to other ASEAN
member states when AEC is established.
22. When AEC is created, Cambodia can get more tourists to visit
Cambodia.
23. AEC will help increase more jobs for Cambodians.
24. AEC can help generate more tax revenues for government.
25. AEC will help improve human resources of Cambodians
26. When Cambodia joins AEC, Cambodia will be more easily affected by
the regional crisis, especially financial crisis.
27. Free flow of skilled labors from other ASEAN member states will make
Cambodians job market become more competitive and increase
unemployment.
28. Cambodias human resource still cannot compete with other ASEAN
member states.
29. English proficiency of Cambodia is still low, which will be a threat or a
challenge for Cambodia to join AEC.
30. AEC is more like an opportunity than a threat for you personally.
31. You support Cambodia to join AEC.
32. You are ready for AEC.
33. Universities in Cambodia should include ASEAN course in the
curriculum of all majors to make students understand more about
ASEAN.

24

Please answer the following questions.


34. What kinds of sources do you use to get the information of AEC? (Can choose more than 1
answer)
Books
(Facebook)

Television

Words of Mouth

Newspaper

Website

Others __________________________

35. Do you want to learn/know more about AEC?


Yes

Social

No

Media

Cambodian Undergraduate Students and AEC 2015

25

36. What kinds of sources do you get the most useful and the quickest on information of AEC?
(Can choose more than 1 answer)
Books
(Facebook)

Television

Words of Mouth

Newspaper

Website

Social

Others __________________________

Media

Оценить