Today I am very pleased to join you all in this ceremony to had-over degrees to all our 1,182 new graduates of the 21st batch scholarship program and the 4th batch non-scholarship program at the Royal University of Phnom Penh.
Taking this great opportunity, on behalf of the Royal Government and myself, let me express my cordial appreciation to the Royal University of Phnom Penh for its achievements and also to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, as well as to all the students for their efforts and to all the professors of the Royal University of Phnom Penh for their attention and care in helping provide quality training thus achieving fruitful outcomes. All these results could not happen without assistance from many friendly countries that have supported a successful education in Cambodia. This indeed reflects the critical role of international cooperation in helping build the foundation for the development of tertiary education in Cambodia.
Moreover, I would like to congratulate and appreciate all the graduates for your hard work in successfully overcoming the challenges during your long tenure, and finally receiving the degree now in this ceremony which is the recognition of your qualification.
As informed by the opening remarks of HE Senior Minister, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports and the taking stock report of HE Vise President on training activities and outcomes under the university development plan, I am very proud to learn that we have transformed this place into a general knowledge training center producing human resources for future development of our nation. Indeed, we have many universities, faculties, institutes and other tertiary schools, both public and private, who are the providers of knowledge. All these institutions form important pillars and are the main players in promoting socio-economic development for our future prosperity.
In this context, the Royal Government has given top priority to reforming education for the causes of developing a high quality human resource, through strengthening educational foundation and teaching standard, and within a systematic and comprehensive national development framework. The Royal Government has clearly recognized that strengthening educational system and training of qualified human resources are of tremendous importance to improve and strengthen the human knowledge base. Furthermore, this presents a significant effort promoting Cambodia’s competitiveness against other partners in the region and the world who are now very active in this era of regionalization and globalization.
Indeed, an economy will grow only if there is substantial stock of talents and intellectuals, including the effective use and management of those assets. Therefore, it is necessary to enable a favorable environment for development of human resources and to manage them appropriately according to their qualifications as a saying goes “appropriate management of human resources according to their skills and talents will maximize the outputs”.
At the same time, the Royal Government has prioritized education in order to develop human resources and to strategically reduce poverty in which mainly focus on quality and professional ethics; those are the key for national development. In this sense, even though a country is rich of natural resources, the development will be slow in the present of lacking high quality, professional and ethical human resources.
I would like to emphasis on two issues that we should together consider and put effort to reach directions and vision for both present and future; they are the quality of education and employment for all graduates.
To address the above issues, I would like to give some ideas. Primarily, the program and curriculum have to be responsive to the new development of economy and society, to meet the demand of labor market, and to have high quality with comparative to national, regional and global standard. This requires the assurance of educational quality and training in all sectors and fields including to production and supplies.
We have established a national committee to assess the quality of education. The committee has to effectively fulfill its duties; so that both public and private educational institutions will push up their quality. By doing so we can achieve the plan of Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and the Royal Government’s policy platform that considers education is one of the strategies to reduce poverty.
In addition, the committee has to review its criteria to be appropriate and precise for issuing the license to establish educational institutions avoiding accomplishment and neglecting appropriate technical aspects, educational materials, location of building and curriculum. On the other hand, it should not block the applications that might waste time and money.
We all know that education and training quality depends on many factors, where educators, students, educational institutions and management are highly emphasized. But we can not neglect other important factors such as parents, family and society which are the main partners to educational institutions. Moreover, education programs and principles are also imperative factors that require good implementation, meaning that we must link theory with practice, training to education programs and concrete operations in institutions, factories, enterprises and production units through which we can partly generate employment sources for those who hold degrees and who have real capacity and talent as well as with fine sense of professionalism.
Nevertheless, the most important source that generates great number of employments is economic reform, which in itself, transforms our weak agriculture into a more modernized stage and enhances gradually progressed agro-industry and processing industry through additional development efforts in for priority activities: “Roads, Water, Electricity and Qualified Human Resource”. These are my comments for all sectors and educational institutions as basis for programs preparation and to work out firm and successful vision of their duties.
For today graduates, I urge you all to use the knowledge and know-how gained throughout your training in this university for the good of your own, your family and the nation; for the search for jobs or further studies. Nevertheless and in any circumstances, please bear in mind that “knowledge, experience and personality are three self supportive angles”. These are the good attitudes that you all should have so that you can contribute effectively to developing our nation into a stronger and prosperous state, which adhere to the rules of law while protecting our independence, peace, freedom, democracy and progress. This is indeed the aspiration of our people and the Royal Government, and more importantly, it is the noble and rightful wisdom of His Majesty the Great King Norodom Sihanouk and His Majesty the King Norodom Sihamoni.
For the management, public servants and education staff of the RUPP, I highly appreciate their efforts and urge for continuity in training, enhanced scope of programs, expansion of education equipment as well as enhanced management and good governance in order to further promote training quality. This will spread out the university’s reputation and contribute to the building-up of sustainable intellectual resource for the sake of development of our country in view of catching up with other civilized countries, in the region and in the world.
The main agenda of the Royal Government in the “Rectangular Strategy for Growth, Employment, Equity and Efficiency in Cambodia” is playing a major role in supporting the implementation of political agenda of the Royal Government in the third term of the National Assembly. At the same time, political stability, peace and public order remain as key factors to ensure sustainable development in Cambodia. Poverty reduction and improved governance are effective mechanisms for the development of Cambodia for now and tomorrow.
More than 85% of Cambodian population is farmers depending their livelihood on agriculture with limited cultivable land and natural reliance. For these reasons, modern technology transfer and development in agriculture sector is key for new jobs creation of our people and for diversification of agricultural products. Technology transfer does not mean only transfer of equipments from abroad through purchases or grants, but it must be a mechanism that ensures production capacity, joint business, license issuance, joint R&D, cooperation among universities in exchange and training of education staffs. In other words, technology transfer includes all that facilitates acquisition, imitation and diffusion of new technology in a country. In this spirit, I urge the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports to pay more attention on science and technology education within young generations in order to empower them to be good managers and users of new technology. This will help to expand productivity.
I am strongly convinced that education is the driving force or the effective mean to develop self personality and a nation. In the process of globalization, higher education plays a major role in developing effective education with quality and enhancing opportunities for successful international cooperation with mutual understanding, benefits and equity. For the moment, our national universities must focus all their efforts on expanded scope of their training programs by developing themselves to reach higher standards that are comparable with those of universities in the region and in the world.
At the same time, I urge all universities to direct their vision to rural development by reflecting through research, reports or thesis of their students in order to resolve major issues and problems in rural areas, especially in the fields of natural resource management, creative ideas and research methodologies which are necessary for systematic vision. Social, cultural and economic factors must be incorporated in analysis of rural environment and the use of multiple resources. This is a new initiative for higher education institutions to take into account in order to contribute more to rural development that can move forward poverty eradication. In this sense, I urge donor community, NGOs and international organizations to continue to support us both mentally and financially. This will facilitate the success of our researchers’ works.
In closing, once again I thank the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports as well as all education partners, donor community, NGOs and international organizations for their joint cooperation that contributes to previous achievements. In particular, I do appreciate and thank the management, public servants, education staffs, professors and students of the RUPP who have successfully carried out their duties.
I also urge you all, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, to make the objectives and planned activities of the university into concrete actions and practices by improving, enhancing and expanding the scope of your duties and functions. This will make the RUPP a truly national center for human resource development, thus significantly contributing to the socio-economic development of Cambodia and bringing it to a higher stage of progress and prosperity. Finally, I wish you all, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, professors and dear students, the Five Gems of Buddhist Blessings.