Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Distinguished National and International Guests,
Today, it is my honor and pleasure to participate in the Closing of the 2013-2014 Stocktaking and 2014-2015 Direction Setting Conference of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport. At the outset, I would like to congratulate on the best result of the conference, considered as an important annual event of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport (MoEYS). Indeed, through this conference, we are able to see not only a proud result that the management and all education officials have achieved, but also an opportunity for all stakeholders to understand and further participate in implementing comprehensive reform program of education sector in the spirit of ensuring our national education sector to be more developed responding to new trends of Cambodia’s Socio-economic situation and global trends.
In fact, these successes do not happen by chance, but is the result of strictly endless efforts and close cooperation of management and officials of all levels of MoEYS when there is peace, and political and economic stability in Cambodia, which can ensure normalization of harmonious livelihoods of Cambodian people. Within this aspect, we can also work together to further prepare and implement new consistent plans with the goals of the education sector, aiming to further promote additional active involvement from all ministries-institutions, development partners and all stakeholders to achieve the education vision in Cambodia and to ensure the equity of school enrollment, and further quality assurance and efficiency of the implementation of educational program in all academic institutions.
Taking this opportunity, I would also like to deeply thank the management and officials of all levels in the education institution, lecturers, teachers, parents, communities and local authorities nationwide, who are always paying attention in this education sector in the previous academic years with high responsibilities in their respective individual roles and duties for the cause of this sector development and human resource development in Cambodia. At the same time, I also highly evaluate the development partners and agencies, national and international organizations and related institutions that have always cooperated and provided any means of material and financial support, action plan preparation, and assistance in the implementation of activities of education, youth, and sport sector so far. In this regard, I would like to suggest the management and officials of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport, related Ministries-Institutions, Private Sectors as well as all development partners and agencies to further their good cooperation and further support to achieve the vision of the development of Cambodian education, youth, and sport sector, institutional capacity, and human resource, which will timely respond to the upcoming fundamental needs and a long-term national socio-economic development.
Indeed, the process of Cambodia development is on the right path, which makes Cambodia progress remarkably from one year to another. Recently, Cambodia has been categorized into countries with “Impressive Growth” by achieving annual economic growth in average of 7.7 % in the last 2 decades and making Cambodia become a country with the 6th fastest economic growth in the world. Within these past years, Cambodia is also acknowledged to have passed a lot of changes, including political and economic sector, trade and society. In fact, in the year 2013, Cambodia has achieved the economic growth of 7.4% and in 2014 and in a medium term, Cambodia is predicted to further increase by around 7% annually. In addition, the Royal Government of Cambodia in this 5th mandate has committed to pushing deeper reforms and implementing more effectively to achieve national development plan and increase its regional and global competitiveness. To achieve this ambition, Cambodia shall depend on people’s capacity to apply dynamic and highly quality knowledge, talent and skills together with strongly active efforts of the Royal Government in preparing and implementing appropriate strategic policy in national socio-economic development.
In fact, Cambodia has recently prepared to adopt “Cambodia’s Industrial Development Policy 2015-2025”, which is another new phase in orienting Cambodia’s Development and through this, we can see that the needs of people’s capacity is a necessary work for either now or long term to attract maximum benefits from this policy to accelerate the development of Cambodia.
In this regard, it has been confirmed that Education Sector is getting more and more pivotal role in contributing to the National Development as a whole. In this point, I would also like to affirm that in my capacity as Prime Minister to date, I have always devoted my Physical strength, thoughts, and resources to lead Cambodia to be the nation with complete peace, freedom and prosperity, especially with the constant improvement on the 4 prioritized sectors namely People, Roads, Water, and Electricity. Therefore, It is undeniable to create better environment for children and youths of Cambodia to receive the life time proper education especially providing the opportunities to all the students to receive skills, technicality and expertise to achieve development that give the maximum benefits to the socio-economics of Cambodia.
Through this, the Royal Government of Cambodia has always sought new approaches and measures to increase competitiveness capacity in the context of regional and global economic environment as well as discoveringopportunities in diversifying and expanding its own economic base amid Cambodia’s active participation in this integration process. We have also paid a careful attention to this education sector by sharply allocating national budget annually and prioritizing the large quantity of teacher recruitment to fulfill the task of teacher dissemination and substitution teachers to replace the retired teacher as well as considering the increase of salary for the teachers and academic staffs. As a result, in this active effort for more than 35 years, it is much unexpected that we have developed our nation to this level as we have built from bare hands, from scratch. If we look at merely the education sector, we lack almost everything from number of schools, classes, teachers, textbooks, school materials for the study. To date, we have built a proper education system to respond to the needs of Labor Market which results from the righteous comprehensive policies, the welcoming of private investment to complement the taskforce of the state in this education sector development. The Royal Government still continues to implement Human Resource Development Policy by encouraging the participation from private sectors, development partners to strengthen and expand education services in Cambodia. All in all, the Royal Government of Cambodia continues to consider education, youth, and sport sector as a prioritized sector in their own political platform because this sector is the defining factor that decides the success of nation building and development in all sectors.
In actuality, some countries in the region do not have as abundant natural resources as we do, but they have their citizens full of capacity, talent, and good skills with quality which can compete for job market abroad and contribute strongly to their economy. Therefore, Cambodia shall develop human resources with the same quality as them. In order to achieve this goal, the Royal Government will try to improve quality and efficiency of the education services in all academic institutions and training in all levels either in public or private institutions to respond to the international standard as well as selecting teachers, adjusting the academic program, inspecting, and strengthening the management capacity, encouraging all teachers to improve their teaching ability and strengthen the quality of exam, enhance the academic requirement, build libraries, laboratories, and more supplies of learning materials. These tasks need to be constantly implemented.
With this, I would like to commend this excellent result in the development of this educational sector from previous years, as shown in the Annual Conference Report by H.E Dr. Hang Chuon Naron Minister of the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport, on the achievements of 2013-2014 and these achievements have reflected the improvement of quality and quantity as well as the development in infrastructures and other basic foundation materials. All in all, these achievements have contributed significantly to the implementation of the Rectangular Strategy-Phase III of the Royal Government which aims for poverty reduction, improving the living standard of people, and allocation of fruit with efficiency and equity.
For now, I would like to support and highly acknowledge the Report of the annual conference that has fairly assessed the education tasks in the year 2013-2014 and propose direction setting 2014-2015 and beyond. For this reform program to move forward with sustainability and efficiency in the context of new economic architecture, I would like to provide basic recommendations to the management and officials in all levels of the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport as follows:
First: Must implement policies to ensure equity of comprehensive and realistic education which includes (1) enhancing and expanding education program for small children to get them prepared for the success in primary school level and continue to the junior high level, as set that children are obliged to study at least 9 years, and encourage the commune/sangkat councils and school sustaining committee to explain the local people to understand the importance and benefits of education and to contribute to the promotion of education. (2) ensuring that the new generation will have better school environment, clean water supply, proper hygiene toilets and to ease the hardship of the handicapped students by creating friendly environment with warmth, with no bullies and create ideas for them on cleanness and hygiene and non-violence etc. (3) continuing to pay attention on the expansion of Scholarship Program for outstanding students, for less fortunate students, especially female students and students from poor family, to ensure that they have equal rights and opportunities, and are capable to have an access to higher education (4) ensuring effectiveness of implementing academic curriculum of mathematics, science, technology, foreign languages, and social science alongside with an effort to strengthen awareness of arts, cultures, national traditions, moral education and social manner (5) implementing the National Literacy Campaign 2015 to enroll and re-enroll the drop-out students, over-age-to-enroll children, and people who lost study opportunities, based on curriculum of vocational literacy training or distance learning in order to eliminate illiteracy and achieve the Millennium Development Goals in 2015 by 84.5%.
Second: Actively implement the policies on improving efficiency and quality of higher education by focusing on skills such as engineering, industry, agriculture, science, and technology, especially, improving research done by students to meet scientific condition, deepening and in accordance with modern economic and social development environments. Therefore, all institutions of higher education, including public and private institutions, have to focus more on developing full, adequate and appropriate capacities of all technical skills and technical education programs, ensuring students with capacities, multi-skills, productivity, and entrepreneurship, in order to supply the demand of skills and capacities which is the need of Cambodia’s Industrial Development Policy (2015-2025).
Third: Actively implement the policies on developing institutions and capacity of education officials for process of decentralization, containing (1) improve efficiency of national and sub-national cooperation financing with the objective to ensure effectiveness of education sector’s deep reform programs. (2) improve accuracy and preciseness of work-plan system, education statistics, work-plan development at the national and sub-national levels based on various indicators. (3) appointment of teachers to lower-level institutions is the prioritized task to ensure wide-spread of education services to remote areas, especially areas with inadequate teachers. (4) continue to develop capacity of school principals, management staffs at department level and district level educational bureaus, by strengthening training teams, and monitoring district levels in observing and supporting schools in all levels.
Fourth: Actively implement works of youth, which (1) focus on youth by inspiring and encouraging positive characteristics and providing opportunities to potentially develop their education, occupations, health, decision-making and contribution to family, community and national development, with responsibility, dignity and self-confidence in their own capacity. (2) prepare proper mechanisms at national and sub-national levels to coordinate, monitor, and evaluate on the implementation of national policies on development of Cambodian youth, which was just entered into force, and preparation of youth network volunteering both national and sub-national levels in order to mobilize youth forces to help local communities for the movement of “good children, good students, good friends, good citizens” and cooperation enhancing youth movements in the society such as youth movement for national causes, Red Cross youth movement, other scout movements in society etc. (3) continue to strengthen technical skills and soft skills for youth such as teamwork, obeying disciplines and professional ethnics in workplace in response to the demand of labour market, job opportunities, and exhausting the potentials of Cambodia’s people benefit.
Fifth: Actively enforce sport affairs including (1) develop sport associations of people and sport associations of students in order to enhance the movement, attention and support of sport activities (2) develop programs for physical education and sport at both national and international levels and paying attention to enhance the interest in national traditional sports to visualize the uniqueness and benefits of these sports (3) strengthen and expand the activities of physical educations and sports at schools through an effort to renovate, repair, and build sport infrastructure in every educational village for training and properly accommodating matches and preparing the comprehensive programs for physical educations and sports to be in line with regional and global development of sport industry (4) make effort to promote national policy on development of physical educations and sport in order to expand the scope and sustainability of this sector, in particular getting ready to participate in the 2023 SEA Game and to respond to the integration into ASEAN and the world.
Sixth: Increase the effectiveness of cooperation financing, including (1) connect with the education on culture, custom, tradition, peace culture, respect for right, human dignity, respect for liberty principle, democracy and justice (2) connect with the fighting violence, curbing the spread of HIV virus, HIV, eliminating drug usage, woman and child trafficking and eliminating all forms of discrimination in the society (3) continue to strengthen the effectiveness principle of cooperation financing to ensure accountability, transparency and the effective usage of financing cooperation through strengthening the implementation of management approach across the programs.
I strongly hope that the conference will take the above-raised recommendations into more consideration and prepare the inputs to better implement the target of school year 2014-2015 and following years, given that education has to be regularly done and will be continued non-stop from one generation to another.
Taking this opportunity, I would also like to note that beside Cambodia’s recent high economic growth, Cambodia is also appreciated by the world of her people’s talent and intelligence, in which after Miss. Sorn Sivmey who has successfully won the Gold Medal for the nation in the SEA Game, we have the second heroine of Cambodia, Teacher Neang Phalla. Even though she did not manage to get the First Rank of the competition program for the World Outstanding Teacher Award 2015, she has brought the pride for the nation and Cambodia citizens as a whole. Now, in addition to the gift of 100 million riels to Teacher Neang Phalla, I would also like to reward Teacher Neang Phalla the Mohasereivath reward of the Kingdom of Cambodia today because she is the first woman who devoted her time and effort in teaching the deaf and mute students that could help the blind, deaf and mute students to be able to read, communicate and understand the events of the society.
Once again, I would like to express deep gratitude to the management, educational civil servants, lecturers, teachers, and staffs throughout the country, local authorities, as well as the national and international communities and all the donors for putting efforts into fulfilling the tasks and cooperation for building and developing Cambodia education sector with success in the previous years. I would like you all to continue this support and cooperation in order to turn this work goal into work plan and implementation program with better outcome as expected in conference.
At the end, with the Closing of the 2013-2014 Stocktaking and 2014-2015 Direction Setting Conference of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport now, I would like to wish Excellencies, Ladies, and Gentlemen, Distinguished National and International Guests, civil servants, academic staff, teachers, lecturers and all participants the four gems of Buddhist blessing: Longevity, Nobility, Health, and Strength./.