Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Faculty Members and Students,
It is a great hornor and pleasure for me to participate in this ceremony with all of you to inaugurate the NewBuilding of the Cambodia’s News Communication Institute constructed with the assistance from UNESCO. This is the second time that I come to this institute since it was opened eight years ago in its old location within the Office of the Ministry of Information.
On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and my own self, I wish to convey my sincere congratulation and appreciation to the Royal University of Phnom Penh and the Ministry of Education Youth and Sports for their achievements in the development of human resource. These efforts have enabled the improvement in the education of cultural and ethical knowledge within the Cambodian society and helped the dissemination of knowledge in sciences to young Cambodian people. Thus all these are important contributions to the economic and social development especially for the poverty reduction and improvement in the living standard of our people, – an ultimate top priority goal of the Royal Government.
To take this opportunity, on behalf of Cambodian people and the Royal Government of Cambodia, I express deep gratitude to donors, NGOs and other international organizations for their valuable contributions of multifaceted assistance in both technical and financial support for the rehabilitation and building of Cambodia’s education. Special thanks are due to the UNESCO for its active and crucial role in mobilizing funds for the construction of this new building and the support for the training of journalists in the Royal University of Phnom Penh.
Indeed, we all recognize that any nation can progress unless it has a strong intellectual class those who play a leading role in rationalizing issues of national interest, transferring knowledge and educating next generation through the various works, such as through their literature and academic and research papers, their efforts in conservation or preservation and development of national culture and other scientific findings. Generally, the level of development may reflect in the availability of intellectuals and resource persons, – the driving “thinking” force of any nation that is a determining factor of country’s competitiveness. Moreover, a prosperous nation is the one with libraries and “reading” lovers. Thus in the new era of information technology, computer system and internet has provided excellent access to the great and dynamic reserves of knowledge.
As I have indicated many times already about key policies for education undertaken by the RGC, that quality human resource development and effective use of intellectual capital are our top priorities now and in the future. Thus today, I would discuss, in addition to what I have talked before, some other critical issues and concerns of the RGC with regard to its Higher Education policies, – especially the development of quality human resource and effective use of human capital. I would emphasize that this is not just an effort to solve the employment issue for our people, but it is a long term development vision and an effective and timely response to the 21st century challenges posed by the globalization.
We can say that the 21st century is a “knowledge” and “information” era where human physical, intellectual and spiritual dynamics are the determining factors in transforming economic potentials and national comparative advantages into a reality, thus strengthening a real competitiveness of any nation. In this sense, the RGC considers education and effective use of intellectual capital the utmost and current top priority. In all the institutions, human resource is key to improving the effectiveness and efficiency of works. Thus first and foremost, the strengthening of institutional capacity should focus on development of human resource being highly skilled and appropriate; – with the establishment of a mechanism that ensures the optimal use of this very important resource. It is the RGC’s philosophy to address this urgent need in giving the priority to strengthening capacity of institutions through human resource development.
In order to realize this utmost important objective, we need a partnership both national and international. The national partnership presents a mean of transferring the knowledge and know-how among institutions, such as training and exchanges of experiences among various academic entities and government ministries and institutions. Given the importance of higher education in the development, I thus set out the “rehabilitation” policy for this sector since 1980s. The government at that time was working very hard by calling on students and intellectuals surviving from Pol Pot regime to reopen up universities, faculties and institutes. Then, I can say that we started and moved forward from almost nothing (“empty hands”) with little helps from some friend countries.
At presence, along with efforts to increase the budget allocation and mobilize foreign resources for education, I have also set a policy of “liberalization” and “partnership” with private sector, both national and foreign, to improve the quality of higher education in Cambodia. As a result, we all have witnessed there are plenty of public and privately owned universities and institutions that have been established and kept expanding. With fully free access to information from foreign sources worldwide, the Cambodian young generation are grateful and enjoying in leaning new skills and knowledge tirelessly via the use of internet and emails.
The RGC is concerned about the quality of higher education, – that requires a thorough and appropriate monitoring and evaluation mechanism of the quality. However, the RGC is clear about the need for a response to the increasing number of graduate students and the need for streamlining the education system reflecting the changing needs of the labour market. As I mentioned this is the only one of the many challenges; – I have seen that though there have been around 200-230 thousands of our young Cambodians entered the labour market each year, they are of low or little skills. Thus the RGC should have given priority to strengthening of vocational and other skills trainings making them a highly skilled and effective workforce. Also, the RGC considers strategy to promote industrialization up to another level toward the expansion of economic base, gradually reduce the dependency on the production of few export products and prepare for the production of higher value added goods such as electronic, household and kid appliances. This will require highly skilled and well trained labors (graduates of vocational centers or university). With the advancement on industrialization absorbing greater labour force, we must also further promote the development of a modern agro-industry and related agricultural services.
As HE Secretary of State Im Sothy and HE Chancellor Pith Chamnan reported earlier, this CNCI was established in 1994 within the Ministry of Information, and in 2002 the RGC decided to transfer the management of the institute to the RUPP. Thus today, we all present here to officially inaugurate this institute and to celebrate its transfer into the RUPP management as well.
Therefore, I wish to emphasize that the new building does testify not only the physical development and its relocation into the Education Center of RUPP, but also reflects the mental development, the interest on education and training of young Cambodian journalists. The new achievement shows that Cambodia have moved to another level of development with the establishment of a training center for journalism and the continuation of its operation, and the interest for further development.
This achievement is a proof to the national and international public of the RGC’s commitment in the development of responsible and professional news communication skills. Thus this will help contribute to the building of a sound democracy in Cambodia.
I believe that among all of you, – the journalists, who present here today excepting the new trainees, there are some who have undertaken courses in this institute. Nevertheless, we still need more and more human resource, especially we need those capable and professional journalists who value the truth and who can provide comprehensive, timely and non-partisan news coverage. In this context, I am convinced that the CNCI will develop itself into a strong and quality training center that helps improving the mass media and news communication in Cambodia to be doubly effective and contributed to improvement of skills and professional ethics in journalism.
On this occasion, I urge all the young Cambodian journalists to study hard to improve your capacity with patience and resolve, – as the road you are travelling is extremely long. Do not think that you have ever learned or known everything! The “knowledge” is unlimited, thus the study is also endless. Therefore, it is important that you continue your study and research and take this as an endless process which requires polishing and retraining of new skills and know-how. This is the only way that we can appropriately respond to the development requirement of our country.
I wish to thank Denmark International Development Agency (DANIDA) who provided assistance for the construction of the buildings of this institute and has provided funds for training of Cambodian journalists during the past eight years.
I wish also, once again, thank the government of France who has provided initial support for the operation of the institute, the foreign embassies to Cambodia and other national and international organizations and NGOs who have helped contribute to the training programs for journalism that the institute has organized so far. I hope this support will continue.
Once again, I express my deep thanks to UNESCO, a major aid coordinator who has helped facilitate the other aid agencies to contribute to the functioning of this institute. Finally, let me end by extending to you all, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen and Dear Students, the five gems of Buddhist wishes. May I announce the Official Opening of the Cambodia News Communication Institute.