Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Distinguished National and International Guests,
Delegations of Capital/Provincial Education Office, and all Participants!
Today, it is my pleasure to participate with Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen in the Closing of the 2012-2013 Stocktaking and 2013-2014 Direction Setting Conference organized by the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport (MoEYS). In fact, this conference has provided opportunities for us all, especially the management and officials of MoEYS at the national and sub-national levels to gather together in order to discuss, share experiences and continue seeking effective measures for the development of our education, youth, and sport sector.
This conference is a good opportunity for stakeholders to get information and participate in the implementation of in-depth education reform aimed to ensure further development of the education sector that is responsive to the new socio-economic context of Cambodia and of the region. Thus, on this basis, we can continue preparing and implementing a new action plan in consistence with the education sector’s objective of ensuring equitable access to education and continued improvement to quality and efficiency of all levels of education aimed to contribute to social development and progress.
Taking this opportunity, on behalf of the Royal Government and myself, I would like to thank the management, officials, teaching staff in all levels of education institutions, student parents/guardians, communities, and local authorities all over the country for contributing to realizing the progress of the education sector according to their respective roles and functions with great sense of responsibility for the cause of upgrading the education sector and building human resources for national development in spite of difficulties and resource shortages. These efforts and contribution spirit are tremendous impetus for achieving the mission to elevate thee ducation sector to a higher level and ensure the production of competent human resource to compete with equal rights andequal footing intheera ofglobalization in either regional or global level.
Along with this, I also wish to express my high appreciation to development partners, national and international organizations and all related institutions for supporting both the preparation and implementation of actionplan in order to enhance efficiency, quality and develomen to education, youth and sport sector. In this spirit, I wish to call on the management and officials of MoEYS, related ministries and institutions as well as development partners and private sector to continue this good cooperation and provide material, financial and mental support in order to achieve the vision of the education, youth and sport sector by focusing on the restoration and expansion of physical infrastructure and institutional and human capacity building which can respond to the needs of socio-economic develoment.
In addition, the Royal Government will continue striving to mobilize support from development partners and investments from all corners to ensure further progress of this sector. In general, the Royal Government is well aware that « achieving progress in education sector is the key not only to addressing every socio-economic issue, but also to developing our society into a decent, civilized, violence-free, discrimination-free society with knowledgeable citizens that live in harmony and with mutual respects».
The Royal Government of the Fifth Legislature has been undertaking in-depth reform programs to elevate Cambodia from low-income country to lower-middle-income country in the near future and further to upper middle-income-country by 2030, along with the ambition to become a developed country by 2050. This is the ambition of Cambodia.
It is undeniable that human resource development through quality knowledge and skill development in accordance with market demand and global context be the main determinant of success in achieving the above objective. In this sense, the education sector plays a significant role in contributing to the promotion of economic growth, competitiveness and development of Cambodia. Therefore, we are obligated to make sure that all children and youth have full access to education at any stage of their life. Education must focus on providing broader and in-depth knowledge and developing vocational skills for students of all social classes. Now it is more important than ever before that we must join hands to undertake this work in a more proactive, cohesive and coordinated manner across the country.
Truly, at present we have developed a complete education system that can respond to needs of our students, starting from kindergarten level to higher education level and technical vocational training level. In fact, the report of H.E Hang Chuon Naron, Minister of Education, Youth and Sport highlighted proud achievements of the Ministry in 2012-2013. Indeed, these achievements reflect not only the progress of the education sector in terms of both quantity and quality aspects, but also the progress in the development of basic physical infrastructure and equipment in the sector. Nevertheless, I must say that this proud achievement does not mean the end of our effort in the education sector.
In contrast, we must work in a more proactive, firm and determined manner to develop the education sector in terms of both quality and quantity aspects so that our children and youths have access to effective education and training system while the productivity of labor force, domestic value added and competitiveness will be further enhanced in the context of Cambodia’s integration into ASEAN Economic Community 2015.
At the moment, I am pleased with and give my full backing to this 2012-2013 stocktaking and 2014-2015 direction setting report. In addition, I wish to share with you some recommendations as follows:
- 1. Promoting equitable access to education for all.
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport must promote and expand early childhood education programs at kindergartens and houses to ensure young children are well prepared for primary education level. In parallel, the Ministry needs to continue the campaign to mobilize children reaching school-age and put them in primary schools, and ensure that schools have clean environment, clean water, sanitary toilets and study-friendly environment, and are free from mental and physical abuses.
Moreover, it is necessary to expand scholarship programs for outstanding and disadvantaged students, including females and those coming from poor families to ensure they have equal rights and equal opportunities and can complete primary, secondary and tertiary education. This helps promote not only the education sector, but also the rights of children. Also, the development of non-formal education must be strengthened and accelerated to ensure the consistency with formal education by stepping up cooperation with development partners enable drop-out students, over-aged students and people who lost formal education opportunities to enroll in literary and vocational training programs.
2. Enhancing the quality and effectiveness of education
All higher-education institutions, either public or private, need to develop proper physical infrastructure in accordance with each course to facilitate student’s research and experiment activities to promote creativity as well as innovation. In parallel, the Ministry needs to focus on the safety and compliance of higher education institutions, and the quality assessment must base on technical indicators to ensure transparency, accountability, responsibility and qualification in enrolment as well as graduation test.
3. Promoting institutional and human capacity for decentralization
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport needs to focus on enhancing the efficiency of development cooperation financing at the national and sub-national levels aimed to ensure the effectiveness of the in-depth reform in the education sector and accelerate the implementation of the medium-term plan on the development of teaching staff at national and sub-national levels and train new teaching staff for replacing retired ones in the long term. Besides, the Ministry needs to strengthen planning and statistics management and development of sub-national action plan. In parallel, it also needs to continue developing the capacity of school principals and heads of provincial and district education offices to support decentralization.
4. Promoting Youth Affairs
We need to pay greater attention to youths and provide them opportunities to achieve their full education potential and participate in health activities, decision-making and development of their households, communities and country in a responsible and dignified manner with great self-confidence. Besides, we need to focus on preparing national and sub-national mechanisms to coordinate, inspect, monitor, evaluate this activity and organize a youth volunteer network at national and sub-national levels aimed to marshal youth forces to help local communities and to promote the movement of “Good Child, Good Student, Good Friend, Good Citizen” to ensure they grow into good citizens that can define the future of the country and protect social harmony.
In parallel, the Ministry needs to strengthen the quality of technical vocational education and training (TVET) and soft skill training for youths, especially team work spirit, professional disciplines and ethics in workplaces in order to enable Cambodian people to rise up to the management and leadership positions, and prepare for competition in the context of 2015 ASEAN Community. In addition, it is necessary to inspire the youths about: “Cambodia: Kingdom of Wonder,” “Clean Cambodia, Green Cambodia” and the “Clean City Clean Resort Good Services” campaign and so on in order for them to understand and take part in these campaigns.
5. Promoting the Development of Sport Sector
We must promote the development of public and student sport association to create sport movements and inspire public interest and support of sport activities through the development of physical education and sportprograms in accordance with national and international practices. It is also necessary to inspire public interest in traditional sports by making them understand the uniqueness, benefits, effectiveness, quality and virtue of traditional sports, be fully aware of the benefits of physical education and sports and involve in the enhancement of this sector.
Besides, we must continue strengthening and expanding physical education and sport activities at all levels of education by focusing on improving, repairing and developing sport infrastructure that is suitable for training and competition. Thus, each school has to pay attention to organizing physical education and sport program that can respond to the development of national and international sport industry. Moreover, we must start selecting and training potential sportsperson now to prepare for the SEA Game 2023 hosted by Cambodia.
6. Promoting the Effectiveness of Development Cooperation Financing
We must link between development cooperation financing to education, culture, customs, tradition and respect for rights and dignity of human being, freedom, democracy and justice. In addition, we must also link education to the fight against violence, prevention of the spread of HIV/AIDS and elimination of illegal drug use, women and children trafficking and discrimination. Besides, it is of great importance to continue implementing the principles of the effective use of development cooperation financing through strengthening the use of a national system with accountability, transparency and responsibility and ensure effective use of development cooperation financing through strengthening sector-wide approach.
I believe all recommendations mentioned above will be used as additional inputs for setting direction in 2013-2014 and beyond to elevate Cambodia’s education, youth and sport sector to a higher level.
Once again, I wish to call on the management and officials of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports including all the officials and teaching staff in the capital and provincial offices to further strive to fulfill your role and duties with the sense of responsibility since the future of our country relies on the education system and the activities of the management and officials of the Ministry and all teaching staff. We must acknowledge that even if a small portion of the population does not have equitable access to education, we are to be partially blamed. Weakness of institutional and human capacity in the education sector partially stems from our weakness.
In this regard, we must maintain that the people have high expectation for the public education because not only their level of capacities, knowledge and knowhow but also their living standard, community development and socio-economic development will rely on education. In this regard, “our education system has to be strong, proactive, and responsive to all aspects in the present and the future”.
Before ending, I would like, once again, to call on Excellencies, Ladies, Gentlemen all participants of the conference to actively participate in undertaking the proposed action plan and share knowledge and experiences gained from the conference to improve the implementation with the objective of new achievements in accordance with development strategy of the education, youth and sport sector.
Finally, along with the closing of 2012-2013 stock-taking and 2013-2014 direction setting conference of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, I wish Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, national and international guests, teaching staff and all participants, the four gems of Buddhist blessing – Longevity, Nobility, Healthiness, and Strength./.