Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my honor and great pleasure to join you at this ceremony today to confer degrees to the 903 newly graduates from the first, second and third promotions of the technical pedagogic students, and from the first, second, third, fourth and fifth promotions of Bachelor Degree Program in Technology of the National Technical Training Institute (NTTI).
On this auspicious and happy occasion, let me express my sincere appreciation to all graduates who received degrees on Basic Technical Teacher, Advance Technical Teacher, and Bachelor Degree in Technology, as the result of their effort and hard works throughout their studies. On behalf of the Royal Government and on my own, I would like to thank the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, especially the management team, staff, teachers and professors of NTTI who have dedicated their great efforts, both physically and mentally, in providing trainings to our students, thus achieving such fruitful results that we can be proud of today.
After listening to the welcome remarks by His Excellency Nhep Bun Chin, Minister of Labor and Vocational Training, and a brief report on the human resource development by the head of NTTI, we can see that our NTTI has a very important role in providing technical and vocational training in Cambodia.
We all still remember that during the genocidal regime the education system was totally abolished. At nationwide, most of schools, education infrastructure and teaching equipments was damaged and destroyed. Indeed, Cambodian people paid their lives as a price to survive and to liberate the people and the country from the Pol Pot’s genocidal regime. And we started with our bare hands to rebuild our devastated nation as the legacy of prolonged civil war. We started building our country with the little survived human resources that remained from the massacre, and at a very difficult moment when Cambodia was embargoed politically and economically from outsiders. At that time we had also to struggle to prevent a return of the genocidal regime. We started to rebuild our county with our utmost efforts both physically and mentally to mobilize the survived teachers, professors and students. We equipped them with short trainings and pass over knowledge to other in cities and provinces. We moved step by step to provide trainings and education all over the country
Indeed, economic infrastructure and many social achievements have been rehabilitated including the establishment of a comprehensive education system for our girls and boys and youth. Today, there are more than 80,000 teachers, professors and education staffs working in the education sector. This is the great achievement that we all together have been striving very hard for over the last twenty five years.
In fact, the NTTI was previously known as “Tek Tla Centre for Technical Training”. It went through the same destiny as other education institutions. The majority of teachers and professors were killed or were missing, and migrated to foreign countries. Education buildings were in bad condition. Education equipments were destroyed almost everything. Only after the liberation day, 07 January 1979, that we were able to rebuild our national education system. In 1980, the former USSR was the first who came to help “Tek Tla Centre for Technical Training” by providing experts, teachers and aids in rebuilding, repairing and equipping and making the centre to gradually regain its normal function. I still remember that at that time, the former USSR provided scholarships to many Cambodian students to continue their technical studies in various states within the former USSR. Those students returned back after the completion of their study to become teachers and professors here. Some others continued their higher education and now they are working in various ministries and institutions of the Royal Government.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to express my deepest appreciation to the former USSR for their long-lasting support especially in technical training to our centre.
During the 80s, we started to focus on primary education by rebuilding schools and providing training to teachers as well as providing education equipment to timely respond to students’ needs. As the result, education system and education quality have been improved and gradually enhanced. Since then, education sector and schools building have become a priority of my ambition as I want to bring a rapid development for Cambodia and equipped with high knowledgeable people in science and technology with cultural vibrant and living with happiness and dignity.
I am convinced and hope that today’s new graduates will join our important missions to bring about intellectual capital with high skills and professionalism in order to enhance our competitiveness in the context of globalization. Indeed, teaching is the most important profession that paves way for other professions. In fact, if there are no high capable and hard working teachers to educate students, then the provision of high quality education could not be possible. High competent and talented teachers are the most fundamental factor in strengthening effectiveness of education. Furthermore, in every circumstance, in particular in the era of globalization, nations could be progressing or could be weakening and can actively and equally participate as well as gain benefit from regional and global cooperation, depend on quantity and quality of human capital of the next generation of youth who are the pillars and foundation of a nation. Clearly, whether a nation is strong or weak, with capacity or without, all depend on education provided by teachers and professors. Thus, the Royal Government realizes and highly values the vital role of teachers in transferring knowledge and expertise to students and in enhancing quality of education.
In order to attain this ultimate objective, the Royal Government has adopted reform programs in all sectors, especially in public finance and armed forces demobilization aiming at increasing revenue and reallocating priority spending in order to increase budget to the social sector, in particular to education and health sectors.
In line with the effort to increase budget for the education sector, I am of the view that in order to continue to implement all above priority activities, we should further strengthen partnership in education sector development. The reason for this is that if there is no additional support from various partners, we would not be able to easily and rapidly bring about fruitful achievements. Taking this opportunity, I would like to thank all donors such as European Union, UNICEF, Government of Japan, the United States and the French Government for their active contribution in the development of education sector, which have attained a notable progress in all levels such as primary, secondary and tertiary education. And I would like to appeal to all our partners to continue their support, so that Cambodia can build their capacity and take the true ownership in implementing education sector strategy.
Indeed, quality of education and trainings rely on many determined factors usually including teachers, students, schools and management. However, we should not leave out other factors such as parents, family and society that are the counterparts in education process. Furthermore, programs and curriculums of schooling are also crucial elements. A good implementation is to link theory with practice, link training with the actual needs of institutions, of factories, enterprises and of other production oriented agencies. Through this, we can partly resolve an employment issue for new graduates and those of truly capable, talented and young professionals. Nevertheless, the real source of employment generation lies on economic reform, which would transform our least developed agricultural sector to a modern one and promote agro-industry, and gradually develop a viable agro-processing industry through further development of the following four priority activities : “road, water, electricity and qualified human resource”.
For all those who receiving diploma today, may I remind you that you should use the obtained knowledge and expertise for the benefit of yourself, your family and your country in seeking job opportunity or continuing your higher education. In all circumstances, you should remember that “knowledge, experience and personality are three elements that supporting and shielding each other”. These are the good things that you must possess in order to take part in defending, building and developing our country, and maintaining the rule of law, progress, strength, independence, peace, freedom, democracy and prosperity. These are the great aspiration of our people.
Before I conclude, once again I was so pleased to joint with you all, professors, officials, university staff and students, at this event. May I also extend my appreciation to donors and all our partners for their active involvement to the rehabilitation and development of education sector.
Finally, I would like to wish you all, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, honored national and international guests, the five gems of Buddhist blessings. And for new graduates I wish you all good health and success in your endeavor.