Venerable Buddhist Patriarchs and Monks from the two Buddhist Orders,
Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen!
It is an auspicious day that I have the honour and great pleasure to partake in the conferring of Bachelor Degree in Buddhist Philosophy to the first and second batches graduates of the Sihanoukreach Buddhist Faculty.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to extend my appreciation to all the lecturers, staffs and students of the university who put arduous efforts to accomplish such great achievement. It indeed reflects the progress of human resources development in Buddhism and the attention of Ministry of Religions and Cults’ management (MoRC), in particular that of the supreme patriarchs of the two Buddhist orders and that of the Royal Government, in upholding Buddhist value to be a truly national religion that provides good advices and respect to Cambodian followers and a contribution to the maintaining of national identity, both nationally and internationally.
On behalf of Royal Government of Cambodia and myself, I highly appreciate for the achievements of the faculty. At the same time, according to the speech and reports from Minister of MoRC and the speech of the Supreme Patriarch Tep Vong of Buddhist Mahanikaya Order, I noticed that from 1992-93 to 2005 the progress of Buddhism education is worth to be proud. The whole country we have about 60,000 monks and 4,060 pagodas, but there are only 385 Buddhist students who finished diploma at Sihanoukreach Buddhist Faculty. Therefore, we have a lot of works ahead especially MoRC should try to provide education services, following education policy of the Royal Government that is education for all , to our respective monks both Buddhist and non-religious knowledge. Moreover, most of monks are the sons of poor farmers in remote areas and cannot afford to enrol public school, so pagoda is their best alternative to obtain Buddhism education. In this view, on behalf of the Royal Government and myself, I would like to appeal charity person and organizations as well as donor countries to continue their support to the Royal Government to foster Buddhism education in Cambodia as a part of poverty reduction.
Specifically, Sihanoukreach Buddhist University has exerted its utmost effort to educate more advanced Buddhist human resources. As a result, 44 monks from the first and second batches graduated with bachelor degree and 283 more are undertaking their studies. The graduated students and student monks becomes a driving force and are additional human resources stock for reconstructing and developing the foundation of culture, morality and Buddhism in the way that promoting non-violence culture among Cambodian; contributing to peace, stability and public order; enhancing morality and savoir vivre; and contributing to speeding up poverty reduction. Those are the possible contribution of the faculty’s novice monks and students in the near future for the implementation government’s policy of “Education for All and All for Education”. To attain the strategic goal in 2010, it must assure the equality accession for both novice and student monks to high quality education and particularly assure that all monks of each and every urban and rural area of Cambodia should finished at least basic and medium level of education.
The principle of education for all requires providing priority to novice monk for basic education both in Buddhism and general education. Indeed for all circumstances for both present and future, it depends on quality of human resources that a country can be strong or weak in term of progress, being able to participate equally and being able to compete in every field of works. As far as education is concerned, for both novice monks and students of both Buddhism and general disciplines, it is important and inevitable works for all of us to aim at building up the next generation of knowledge, capability, genius, morality and savoir vivre for our national development.
In reality, the Royal Government gives top priority to education reform in elementary, secondary and tertiary education that is to promote high quality human resource development via strengthening the foundation and quality of education based on a comprehensive national economic development framework. The Royal Government strongly believes that the strengthening of education system and human resources development with high quality and skills are crucial for improvement and accumulation knowledge stocks that in part propel competitiveness of Cambodia with courageous and efficiency in the region and the word that speedily moves forward in form of regionalisation and globalisation.
Moreover, The Royal Government is now concentrating on judicial reform through enforcing a measure, called “Iron fist”, in order to promote the rule of laws and protect rights of living and equality before the laws for all Cambodians of the whole country. Of course, the Royal Government will not promise to make this or that up, but it has its common strategic vision and clear action plans for implementing its activities that has been proceed in every sectors and fields. Factually, we constructed many physical infrastructures such as irrigation system, ports, roads, bridges, schools, hospitals and pagodas to support the process of all-sector development. Those are the achievements of the Royal Government have attained for its 10-year works and they are the foundation to build our future country.
At the same time, in this legislative term of the national assembly, the Royal Government actively build up irrigation and watering network for our citizen in doing farming. In this precious occasion, I would like to express my very sincere complements for authorities, national and international organizations and all venerable, particularly the Supreme Patriarchs of the two Buddhist Orders, who always financially and spiritually support the government’s activities to be successful in building economic infrastructure, especially building hydrology system for present and future Cambodian economic development goal.
In this precious occasion, I would like to express my very sincere congratulations for all student monks and students, who hold firmly Buddhist disciplines, particularly study hard in terms of Buddhist teaching and general knowledge, and successfully obtain Bachelor degree. I am firmly confident that all monk students and students will use the knowledge to make our Buddhist religion more prosperous, sustainable and the prosperity shading over the nation in the present and future time.
To promote the training in Buddhism education to be fruitful, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight some practical suggestions as follow:
1. I would like MoRC, Municipality and provinces, and all level of concerned authorities to pay attention in providing high priority to set up necessary conditions that are favorable for student monks within pagodas and schools for monks flexible to people’s economic situation.
2. Setting up Buddhist pedagogy to teach graduated student monks to be able to teach and reach far-flung student monks who are unable to study in the cities or provinces and appropriate education materials should be provided to enhance the quality of teacher training.
3. Promoting at large foreign language education, particularly English language and informatics skill, among student monks as well as Buddhist education. Today, English and informatics are essential for communicate and all activities every where, and particularly to mobilize knowledge and experience. The knowledge of foreign language and modern technology is the key for lecturers, researchers and student monks to access the great stock of knowledge warehouses that have been accumulated every where in the word. In this sector, our crucial goal is to gradually embed computer literacy into Buddhist education Programs at Buddhist university and the other universities in the country.
Before closing, I would like once again to express my sincere joy, communicating with the Supreme Patriarch, Samdech Preah Porthivaing and all the Venerable monks, civil servants, staff, teaches and all student monks participating in this precious occasion.
Finally, may I wish Samdech, Venerable Patriarchs and Monks, Your Excellencies, national and international distinguished guests, Madams, Ladies and Gentlemen and all student monks, who participate in the ceremony, with the five Buddha blessings: longevity, beauty, health, strength and prosperity.