Bridging the gap at Tchey banner image

With 18 years of operation under our belt, we are approaching a tipping point of having as many active students in secondary and tertiary education as in primary. 

Our commitment to giving students the very best chance of success at each of the critical junctures of their learning journey now sees us investing more resources into the programs that specifically serve these older demographics.

From High School Scholarships – the springboard from which students access their futures beyond school – to University Scholarships, Vocational Training, or preparing to seek their first employment – here’s the good news headlines on all things tertiary as we wrap up one academic year and get stuck into the next! 


In 2023 we awarded over 80 scholarships; for the 2024 school year ahead, we’ve scaled up to 100 new awards, bringing the total number of active scholarship students to 141.

These scholarships give students a huge advantage, equipping them with all the extra classes required to round out the public school curriculum. In 2023 91% of the students receiving scholarships passed the Grade 12 exam. This is compared to 73% nationwide. 

Beyond simply passing the Grade 12 exam, scholarships help students get better scores. Better scores bring opportunities for university scholarships (PLF or others). 43% of the 2023 cohort achieved what we consider “outstanding scores,” meaning they finished the year in the top 25% nationwide. In 2023, we had an exceptionally strong graduating class, with FIVE students receiving an A on the national exam, putting them in the top 1.5% of the country.

As with all our programs, we tweak and adjust as the needs dictate. The learning losses of the pandemic had a knock-on effect on students’ confidence, and we noticed that many who before would have chosen science subjects were instead opting for the ‘easier’ social track – which was then limiting their choices of university degrees. To counter this issue, last year we began awarding 2-year science scholarships specifically for rural students, where the standard of the local schools is lower than in the city and where, without these scholarships for extra classes, the prospects of students either not passing or scoring poorly on the Grade 12 exam is great. We felt that beginning the scholarship support instead in Grade 11 gives a solid boost to their ability and confidence in sitting the more difficult science track. And we are seeing this pay off: last year, we had only four students across our rural locations in the science track, but for 2024, this now stands at 26.


2 year Grade 11 & 12 Science, rural location

I choose Science subjects because it’s important for my major at university – I want to study medicine and become a doctor. This scholarship helps me with all the things to keep me at school. The lost of my father had become a big problem and we had to face poverty because no one work to support the family. If no scholarship I would have quitted the school and work to support for the family. But with this help I can stay in school and I still continue to study up until now. I want to work as doctor because I can contribute to healthier families and communities.

We have also extended this 2-year support to social track students in Preah Vihear. With the high school in Srayang now finally going up to Grade 12 and with the expansion of our Learning Center next door, we are committed to enabling as many students from this demographic to achieve their diplomas. At the end of 2023, we had our first small class of Srayang Grade 12 graduates, and three of them did so well that they are going on to University.

This is a trend we are working to amplify, and we are all relieved to find that, with our Learning Center’s support, it is now possible for students to finish Grade 12 without having to relocate to Siem Reap. They can remain living at home with their families while finishing high school. We’ve waited many, many years for this to be a reality, and we hope that many more Srayang students will follow in their footsteps!

This is a trend we are working to amplify, and we are all relieved to find that, with our Learning Center’s support, it is now possible for students to finish Grade 12 without having to relocate to Siem Reap. They can remain living at home with their families while finishing high school. We’ve waited many, many years for this to be a reality, and we hope that many more Srayang students will follow in their footsteps!

Academic achievement can lead to tertiary education, and of our 2023 scholarship students, well over half are either receiving full PLF Scholarships for University or Vocational Training courses. The remaining students will enter the workforce armed with an adequate level of English, MS Office Certificates, and all the knowledge gained during a carefully curated array of life-skills workshops delivered during their entire journey through secondary school.


For 2024, we awarded 36 new scholarships – our highest yet – bringing our total number of active university students to 139.

24 out of the 36 are doing STEM subjects at university.

22 (61%) of those have gone to females

SOPHEAP, from Srayang

Archaeology, Royal University of Phnom Penh

I feel very proud of myself that I can get a university scholarship from PLF, because I can achieve this with my ability. If depend just on my family, I cannot go to university because they cannot afford to pay. Especially because my family discriminates between boys and girls, so they do not prioritise my study. But because of PLF – and my ability – I can go.

I hope younger students in my homeland will see us and we are like a role model to show them that they can go to university too.


In 2024, our Vocational Training scholarships have grown considerably, with 13 total active students now in this program.

This significant growth is thanks to our tertiary team working hard to find available courses and then promoting them to secondary students. Historically, there’s been a perception that further education is restricted to university only and that if you are not academically strong, it’s best to go straight to employment and learn ‘on the job’. The team has raised awareness of the benefits of vocational training, outlining that while you may start later in earning an income, your skill level, qualification, and long-term job prospects will be higher. 

For several years, we’ve worked with local partner NGOs such as Haven and Bayon Pastry School, which are offering skills training in hospitality. Haven is an especially long-standing partner and consistently offers 2 or 3 places to PLF students every year.

This year, we also have two students taken by Sala Bai Hospitality School in Siem Reap for the first time. This prestigious and long-standing institution offers a full range of courses – from cooking, restaurant, spa, front office and housekeeping. While based in Siem Reap, the school takes students from all around Cambodia, making competition for places very high. Our team has worked hard to develop a closer relationship with Sala Bai this past year and we are thrilled that it has paid off. 

Another first is the placement of a graphic design student in an 8-month course at the newly opened Regional Polytechnic Techo Hun Sen, which is an exciting development to see this subject being offered in a government-run school.

However, the biggest expansion in our VoTech program comes with the opening of the National Polytechnic Institute of Angkor (NPIA) on the outskirts of Siem Reap, which increases course options significantly. NPIA offers 2-year associate degrees, mostly in engineering subjects, based on the same curriculum as the well-established National Polytechnic Institute of Cambodia in Phnom Penh. They also have a dorm for students outside of the city, making this a viable option for our rural Siem Reap demographic. This year we are thrilled to have 6 male students enrolled for the associate degrees – 3 urban and 3 from Knar who will stay in the NPIA dorm. Between them, they are studying electrical engineering and IT.

Like young people everywhere, not all PLF High School Scholarship students are suited to university. We have always recognized this fact and strived to provide access to more hands-on training that leads to meaningful employment. Add to this that many of our vo-tech students come from extremely challenging family situations and have received extra welfare support in order to be able to remain in school. Those extra supports are paying off now, and combined with the wider range of available courses opening up, ensuring that more young adults are receiving the opportunity to reach their full potential. 


2 year associate degree, Electrical Engineering, NPIA

PLF help me with all school supplies since I was young. When I was older, also workshops and I can understand about applying for scholarship. They also help with food bank, which means I can continue to study at vocational school.

If no support from PLF I would not be able to stay in college because my family cannot pay for me. I would have to work as a construction laborer with my uncle instead.

Time To Celebrate!

We recently gathered all new university and vo-tech scholars together for a celebratory award ceremony and to wish them well as they embark on their new adventures! Watch the video to meet some of them in person 🙂 

Like the sound of our programs and want to get involved, but not sure how? 

Become a Recurring Supporter

For as little as $10 a month, you could contribute to the ongoing education of our students. $120 goes a long way in Cambodia: that’s 5 village children on the road to education, with access to school and clean drinking water for half a year. Or a million other things, all of which coalesce into the tools needed for life to change for the better!

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Follow our Instagram or Facebook accounts. Like, comment on or share our posts – Do it. It’s free. And it’s a huge help for us!

Have some questions?
Email us for a chat at [email protected]