Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today I am very pleased to join you all, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, here at the Technology Institute of Cambodia. Today we all participate in the graduation ceremony of Batches 17 and 18 of the Engineers, and Batches 6 and 7 of the Senior Technicians.
Let me express my appreciation to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, the Cambodian as well as the foreign professors, civil servants and the management and staff of the Technology Institute of Cambodia who have made tremendous efforts to fulfill their roles and obligation in “training and transfer of knowledge” to the students. It is clear that all your work has produced fruitful outcomes and results.
May I also express my happiness and appreciation to all the graduates who have worked very hard to successfully overcome all the challenges faced during their long period of study so that with this graduation ceremony they have become Engineers and Senior Technicians. This achievement is an appropriate and timely contribution to our country’s demand for the development of human resources in order to achieve sustainable and equitable development.
On behalf of the Royal Government and the people of Cambodia, let me thank the Government and the people of France, through H.E. Yvon Roe d’Albert, the Ambassador of France to the Kingdom of Cambodia. Our gratitude also goes to the Agency of Francophone Universities (Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie) and other national and international organizations which have made valuable financial and technical contributions for the development of education in Cambodia. Your assistance has strengthened our teaching and training facilities and enabled overseas training for many professors, faculty members, civil servants and students.
Moreover, I would like to thank the experts who helped design the program and curricula for higher education in Cambodia. Your work has been responsive to the demands by the labor market in the country and the region, and thereby responsive to the crucial requirements for Cambodia to improve and develop our education sector in the context of development and globalization.
As H.E. Secretary of State Im Sothy and Ms. Director Dr. Pheung Sakona stated in their reports, the Technology Institute of Cambodia is now 40 years old. Indeed, the TIC has grown in strength and capabilities and thus stands in the first rank in providing technological education for the country. The TIC’s contributions are invaluable and represent our victorious result starting from the effort of the Cambodian people since Liberation Day of 7 January 1979 when we started with empty hands to restore the devastated education system. Let us be reminded that 25 years ago, this very place was a prison, holding the captive intellectuals during the Khmer Rouge regime. Today this place has been transformed into one of the most effective technical and technological training centers of human resources in Cambodia!
The Royal Government has secured peace for the nation and our people through the “win-win” policy. Reforms have been launched and implemented in all sectors, especially in the development of human resources, which is key to improving productivity and competitiveness of Cambodia in the globalized economy. Indeed, the Royal Government considers the development of high quality human resources and the effective use of the country’s intellectual capital to be not only efforts to restore the human capacity lost through genocide and three decades of wars, but the just and appropriate support for our people, for their dignity and employment, and consistent with our long-term vision for investment, competitiveness and sustainable development of Cambodia in the 21st century.
The 21st century shall be an era of globalization, where technological progress in all sectors is the key weapon for economic advantage in the market. The entry of Cambodia into the WTO membership is an appropriate step for the engagement of the country in world affairs and trade. In this context, Cambodia must enable its technicians to use their expertise, knowledge, skills and creativity to innovate and upgrade the economy. Such advances are especially needed in agriculture, which is still dominated by fate and dependent on the weather. Cambodia must use technology toward modernization, and transform the sector toward more advanced stages of agribusiness, agro-industry and agro-processing.
Attention must also be focused on the development of a product, primary or processed, that shall serve as a unique, national “niche” commodity that enjoys absolute advantage in world market.
The Royal Government has been considering various strategies of promoting industrialization to expand the economic base and thus gradually reducing our dependence on a few products for export. We must produce a broader range of products and also add more value in such products as electronics and appliances. Such efforts all require well-trained and qualified engineers and workers.
All of these efforts will generate jobs and employment that can absorb our rapidly growing labor force. Indeed, we need human resources that can respond to the demands of modernized agriculture and industry, and thereby further push growth in these sectors and the economy as a whole.
The strengthening of the quality and the scope of education, especially for technical and tertiary education is indeed crucial to formation of the production base and intellectual capital to enable Cambodia to respond to the requirements of development and rapid globalization. This is one of the utmost priorities of the Royal Government now and in the future.
Indeed, education is the foundation for ensuring national development in all sectors. We should safeguard the quality of education in Cambodia, avoiding excessive and false marketing and advertising that does not actually deliver good-quality training. Any misconduct in education services, where the sector is used as a means for commercial benefit without good-quality service is fraudulent! This is an offense to the good spirit and very scarce time and resources of our people and nation.
It is the vision of the Royal Government of Cambodia that in this decade and mandate we shall focus on transforming our national economy to become an economy of advanced agro-industry and manufacture through crucial public investments such as physical infrastructure, irrigation systems, technology development and knowledge transfer, learning from the experiences of advanced countries both in the region and in the world, and finally expand the market for Cambodian technicians and entrepreneurs within and outside the country.
I am satisfied that the labor market has absorbed the Engineers and Technicians trained by the Technology Institute of Cambodia. This reflects that the training by the TIC is of sufficient quality for the requirements of the labor market.
I urge the Technology Institute of Cambodia to exert its best efforts to upgrade and maintain the high quality of its training. The TIP should also expand its scope into new areas required by technological and scientific progress to conform to regional and international standards. Such upgrading will enable the TIC to maintain its competitiveness in the production of intellectual capital for Cambodia and for the region. Moreover, I also encourage and appreciate research and analysis on the concrete technological needs of our country. The TIC has exerted efforts to contribute to such research.
I appreciate the role that TIC has taken in fostering cooperation and collaboration with other countries, both with the French-speaking nations as well as other countries in the region and other continents. Such cooperation must be further and strongly enhanced, since cooperation always brings about not only the spirit of mutual respect but also knowledge transfer in technology and culture which facilitates communication, harmonization, understanding and peaceful co-existence among all nations.
Having served as head of the Royal Government, I have tried my very best to contribute in many ways – physically, mentally, spiritually, in resources and time – to enhance the development of Cambodia. In particular I have helped to ensure peace that is the basis of economic growth and poverty reduction for overall prosperity and development of the whole nation. I am pleased that many Cambodian intellectuals and technicians have also dedicated themselves to the cause of poverty reduction policy, consistent with national conscience and with strong will to succeed.
I believe that all of today’s graduates are anxious to show their capacity and knowledge in national reconstruction. In becoming Engineers and Technicians, you must have the four good qualities: will, perseverance, conscientiousness and knowledge. I believe that all of the 325 graduates today of the Technology Institute of Cambodia do possess these four good qualities. Nevertheless, I remind you all that knowledge must be continually pursued, even beyond your studies here at TIC. The four good points you now have are only the beginning. True accomplishment in your careers and lives will require much more.
Experience is the main factor. Experience in life and experience in work are studies outside of the university in the real world. Experience is gained from actual action, from facing and resolving problems in concrete situations, on your own. This experience you will begin to accumulate as your enter your working life from this day forward.
In addition to experience, personality determines success. Personality is the combination of what we receive by fate and the accumulation and strengthening of the special characteristics found in each person. Such personality is reflected in ideas, analysis, understanding, principles and actions on our beliefs and values and responsibility and accountability for our deeds. These values define our unique personalities. Indeed, knowledge, experience and personality are the three points of a triangle that provides mutual support and strengthening and cannot exist without the others.
Before I close, and in the presence of H.E. the Ambassador of France, may I renew our expression of profound gratitude to the Government and people of France who have supported the TIC for many years. Moreover, even if 2004 is the last year of cooperation within the Priority Solidarity Fund (FSP) for the TIC, we can expect – again in gratitude – that our cooperation will continue in new and renewed aspects.
I appreciate the France University Agent (AUF-Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie) that has guided the successful implementation of the program, and has prepared the grounds for the transfer of administrative, technical and financial functions to the Cambodian counterpart. I look forward to our continued cooperation with the AUF.
I also thank, most sincerely, the other donors such as the Soviet Union, Belgium, Japan, New Zealand and especially, the community of ASEAN Universities Network who have, with wisdom and kindness, opened their doors for further support to Technology Institute of Cambodia, now and in the future.
Finally, I wish all of you, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, the blessings of the five Buddhist gems. To all the graduates, good health and success in your future endeavors.