Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, it is a great pleasure for me, once again, to participate in this ceremony with all of you, – Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen and the New Graduates.
On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and my own self, may I warmly congratulate and highly appreciate the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, the Faculty’s management and its staff, the professors (Khmers and Expatriates) for their tireless efforts in providing tuitions and education to our students that have produced very good and fruitful results. May I also congratulate our New Graduates (among them there are our civil servants) that I am sure you have all worked hard and studied very intensively for many years to deserve your diplomas today.
On this occasion, may I express our deep gratitude to friendly countries, international community, and national and international organizations, especially to France for the contribution including technical and financial assistance. Those assistance were targeted to support the following activities: (i) the improvement in the “intellectual and facilities” capacity of the faculty; (ii) provisions for oversea training for faculty members, staff and students; and (iii) the formulation of academic curricula for higher education in Cambodia, to be well responsive to the needs of local and regional markets as well as the strengthening of professional capacity that Cambodia needs the most.
We all still remember that during the Pol Pot’s regime, the educational system was destroyed completely, and that only after the Liberation Day of 7 January 1979 it was restored and redeveloped. During the 1980s, we were focusing on education starting from the rebuilding of academic institutions in the primary, secondary and tertiary levels, retraining teachers and professors, and providing school supplies, – that have timely responded to the needs of our students. As a result, the educational system and the quality of education have been gradually developed and improved. Since then, the construction of school buildings and pedagogical training have become one of my priorities in building a Cambodian society, which is fast growing, highly educated, culturally vibrant, in which Cambodian people live a prosperous and happy life and with dignity.
Over the past decade and especially during the second term of the RGC (starting from 1998), many educational institutions have been established, while we have been focusing on the living standard of teachers and the quality of education for our students as priorities, according to the level of economic growth. Moreover, the Second Term Royal Government has exerted its efforts to implement the reform program in education, making it a top strategic policy of the Royal Government in its quest to establish a socially connected, highly educated and culturally vibrant Cambodian society, – the most important determination of competitiveness and productivity of Cambodia’s human resource in the fast growing globalisation.
Recently, the Royal Government has launched the National Plan of Education for All that “poverty reduction must start from building the foundation for human resource development” – a strategy that helps ensure sustainable development and equitable distribution of the fruits from economic growth. To realize this long-term strategy, the Royal Government has placed great emphasis on the reform and development of education through strengthening the foundation and the quality of education within a comprehensive national framework for economic development. Thus, the Royal Government is clearly aware that the strengthening of educational system and the training of highly qualified human resource are important for improving human capital base that enables Cambodia to compete with other partners effectively in the region and the world within this fast changing globalisation.
Given the performance of overall government’s policies and strategies in the past years, it is clear that the government has been highly appreciated and strongly supported by civil servants, local authorities at all levels, the private sector and from our people, as well as development partners for its specific efforts to accelerate the poverty reduction among our people. This is fully explained by the continuing macroeconomic stability and sustained economic growth via increased trade and investment flow amid the slowdown of regional and world economy over the last few years.
Moreover, peace in Cambodia has build up confidence among the public in the reforms and political stability, which has created firm foundation for Cambodia to pursue its goal of a sustainable and long-term high growth development.
However, the RGC recognizes that all the achievements we have accomplished so far, both in social and economic sectors, are not adequate to fully respond to the needs of our people. The overall challenges and difficulties are not completely resolved, though we attained high economic growth, increased investment and created more employment, while road infrastructure, irrigation, wells, ponds, temples, hospitals and schools has been built, repaired and put into operation, – all these help better stimulate the economy and the well-being of people. Indeed, we require much more efforts and time in order to develop the country and provide our people with a dignified and good living condition.
It is not an easy task to educate people to become good citizens with professional ethics and capacity to carry out works, serving the nation and society. Indeed, this requires time and efforts, struggle and hard works, as well as strong commitment. Effective and highly developed educational system cannot be built in just one or two year. It is an on going process that lasts far into the future. Knowledge without experience cannot serve the development. All theories must be linked to practices. Knowledge must be linked to know-how, and the gap between the two represents the distance between the educational institutions and the development workplaces.
I am sure that you all aware of the challenges ahead awaiting you, unlike here you have faced only one, – the studying. You will have to stand up and solve the everyday problems in your work, as for your personal living and for the interest of the nation as well. Thus, I urge you all to prepare yourselves to learn from the real world, getting good experiences. You should avoid the discriminative thinking that “you are the best and over all others”, but you should always appreciate and value others, and try to learn from them.
Enter the labor market quickly, without needing to wait for a job that exactly meets your background. Gain work experience as soon as possible and continue to learn from new job. This will prepare you for responsibilities and positions that fit your preferences more exactly. Only those who keep continuous study will be the most successful. Moreover, I also urge you should not give up research and please consider that study is a non-stop process to improve your knowledge and expertise in consistence with the time evolved.
Once again, taking this opportunity I would like to thank donors and all friend countries including national and international organizations that have actively participated in the rehabilitation and construction of education in Cambodia at all educational levels, which has now well advanced. I call for continuing support to this sector that Cambodia will be able to build up its own capacity and real ownership in the education.
In conclusion, I wish to extend my warmest congratulation to all New Graduates for the completion of your study, and wish you success in you future work and in serving our beloved motherland. Finally, may I extend to Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen and government officials, the five gems of Buddha’s wishes.