Venerable Buddhist Monks,
Your Excellencies, Members of the RGC,
Your Excellency Ambassador of Japan – Gotaro Ogawa,
Ladies and Gentlemen and Dear Graduates,
Today, it is a great honor and pleasure for me to participate in this Joint Events to inaugurate the Auditorium and Girls’ Apartments, present the diplomas to the 11th -12th Batches Graduates, and to launch the new courses for the 13th -14th Batches Students of the Hun Sen Regional Center for Pedagogy in Kandal province. This is another new development testifying to the Royal Government of Cambodia’s commitment to developing human resources and providing skill training and other required knowledge with regard to pedagogy to the education officials and staff, who play a key role in Cambodia’s education and human resource development in particular, and in the country’s construction and sustainable development, thus contributing to rapid poverty reduction in general.
On this solemn and joyful occasion, I wish to convey my sincere congratulation and great appreciation to the management, staff and all the faculty members as well as to all the graduates for their efforts to achieve excellent performance. On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia, I express great appreciation for the commendable performance of the Hun Sen Regional Center for Pedagogy in providing successful training of human resources for the education sector so far.
According to the report made by the Canter’s Dean, Ms Noun Neardey, we can see that during the period 1987-2002 the Hun Sen Regional Center for Pedagogy has trained 14 batches of Lower Secondary School teachers, – totaling 3,436 graduates and provided retraining courses to 3,218 employing teachers; who are working for three provinces – Kandal, Kampong Speu and Kampong Chhnang.These results allow the Royal Government of Cambodia to be able to appropriately and timely response to the Cambodia’s needs for human resources, especially in the education sector, which is a prerequisite for sustainable socio-economic development. Specifically, the RGC has strictly committed to development policies through poverty reduction and human resource development, i.e. promoting equitable distribution of fruits from the economic growth and equal access to education for every members of the society.
On this special occasion, on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and my own self, I wish to express our deep thanks to the Japanese Government and people, national and international organizations and other charitable institutions and individuals for their contributions in providing buildings as well as school supplies and funds to help develop the Hun Sen Regional Center for Pedagogy achieving notable improvement.Tomorrow we will celebrate the 24th Anniversary of the Liberation Day, 7 January 1979. Every Cambodian people, who are living in the country and those escaped the killing to other countries, had lost their relatives and friends in the “prison without walls of the genocide”.
We all remember that 24 years ago Cambodia renewed her life, sacrificing many lives in order to liberate our people and the country from Pol Pot regime of genocide. With empty hands, we rebuilt from scratches the nation that was destroyed by Pol Pot regime and by decades of prolong war and internal conflict. With little human resource survived the killing and in a very difficult time of economic and political isolation, and with the effort to prevent the return to power of Pol Pot Regime, we started rebuild our country. We called on all the teachers and students who had miraculously survived the genocide for training and retraining. We retrained those that we could, and asked the more senior teachers to train the other teachers in the provinces and municipalities. We moved rapidly to reopen the schools around the country.
In fact, lots of economic and social infrastructures have been restored including a comprehensive education system for our children and our youth, where more than 80,000 teachers and educational staff are working now. All these are great achievements of our joint and hard efforts that we have realized in the past 24 years.It is my conviction that the graduates today, who will receive their diploma soon, would contribute a great deal to our most important mission, – realizing the development and mobilization of intellectual capital of high expertise and skills, in order to strengthen Cambodia’s competitiveness in the rapid globalized world.
Indeed, teaching is the most important profession instrumental to every skill and professional learning. Specifically, without high quality and motivated teachers we cannot achieve our goal to provide quality education to our students. Competent and skilled teachers are key to strengthening the effectiveness of education. In addition, in all the circumstances especially within this rapidly changing globalization process, the ability of any country to afford a prosperity or suffer a setback and to benefit equitably from any regional and international cooperation depends on the availability and quality of human capital of the next generation.
Their strength and quality are definitely related to the works of training of teachers. Thus the RGC recognizes and appreciate the critical role of teachers in transferring knowledge and skills to our children and our youth and in improving the quality of education system as a whole.To realize those objectives, the Royal Government of Cambodia has set reform programs in public finance and demobilization aimed at increasing budget revenue and reorienting expenditure priorities toward social sectors especially the education and health. At the same time, the RGC has made every efforts to mobilize foreign assistance and set policies and measures to encourage participation in and contribution to this sector by the private sector and civil society.
As I have mentioned in many forums, the RGC is concerned very much about raising the living standard of our teachers especially through gradual increase in their salary to an appropriate level. Over the last five years, the disbursements for education have been increased almost three folds from CR 102 billion in 1998 to CR286 billion in 2002. In 2003, the RGC is committed to increase education budget to CR333 billion, – an increase of 16.5% over the year 2002, representing 18.5% of the total current spending. The government plans to increase this allocation to 20% of the total current spending by year 2005.
The increase in spending for education is the government policy favouring the poor people through gradual increase in teachers’ salary and improvement in school supplies and equipments.Today some of you complete your training and receive a diploma and others start your new course, – choosing a most respected and dignified profession. Thus, you are the hope of the Royal Government and the society. You will help build and develop a prosperous and peaceful country that is free from the poverty trap and other drawbacks. Therefore, I encourage you all to work hard in your study and in your future career.
Do develop the knowledge you have learned into good professionals, with the best personality and identity. Before closing, I would like, once again, to express great appreciation for being here with all of you in this occasion. Also, may I thank the donor countries and all our development partners who have actively contributed to the rehabilitation and building of educational system in Cambodia, which accorded considerable progress and notable changes.Let me end by extending to you all, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, the five gems of Buddhist wishes and my personal wish for your prosperity and happiness, Congratulations on the Liberation Day (7 January 1979) and Happy New Year for the just coming year 2003. I especially wish all graduates good health and success in their new career!
May I officially declare the opening of the auditorium and the Girls’ Apartment, and the opening of new course for 13-14 batches students of Lower Secondary School from now on!