Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Distinguished National and International Guests,
All Staff and Faculty Members of the National Institute of Education,
Today I have great honor and pleasure to join you all in this ceremony to inaugurate the National Institute of Education, the former Faculty of Pedagogy, and to confer diplomas to the new graduates (teachers and education inspectors) who have just successfully finished their study at the institute and will return to their normal work in provinces and cities across the country.
On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and my own self, I would like to congratulate and commend all the graduates for their hard work and all the accomplishments in studying the teaching skills, which represents the most respectful and dignified profession. It is true that: “no teacher, no education, and in turn no development!
Taking this opportunity, I would like also to sincerely appreciate and commend the National Institute of Education and the MOEYS for their good performance in implementing education policy and reforming the education system to train quality human resource to serve the cause of defense, construction and development of the country after serious destruction by more than two decade wars. I may recall that this place was Khmer Rouge’s banana farm and store of disposed bottles, while after 7 January 1979, we have initially transformed it into an education center of the MOEYS and changed its name several times. Now, we replace the name “Faculty of Pedagogy” into the “National Institute of Education” which has the responsibility to train teachers and education management.
After listening to the welcome remark by HE Kol Pheng, Senior Minister of the MOEYS, and the report by Dr. Thor Soa, Director of the National Institute of Education, I noted that though there have been substantial progress achieved through our efforts in the past, there are still many issues remained to be addressed. Indeed, all the achievements realized either in social or economic sectors are not fully satisfied to the need of our people. Though we made good progress in economic growth and investment, but we still need to generate more employments. Moreover, while many irrigation systems, wells, ponds, temples, hospitals and schools have been put in place, and road infrastructure restored and reconstructed have enabled lively economic activities and improved livelihoods of people, there remain other challenges which are not resolved yet. Thus, we need more time to work together in order to achieve a dignified and reasonable living standard for our people and development of a prosperous country.
As for education sector, a report on education activities and training 2003-2004 shows that we have reached the targets on access to quality education, strengthening of institutions and financial management, the training and education coverage and the improvement in standards of education service. All these have helped and will help ensure effective participation in poverty reduction and growth promotion for our people. We can take pride of all these results, but they are short of our demand and needs to realize our philosophy of growth, employment, equity and efficiency which the Royal Government has introduced in the Rectangular Strategy. In this sense, we need to intensify our efforts to transform education into a firm foundation for sustainable development of Cambodia.
In this joyful gathering, I would like to share some of my recommendations to help strengthen our education system:
1. Take further measures to increase enrollment and reenrollment rate by continuing the elimination of unofficial payments and fees. Moreover, we shall try our best to provide scholarship to poor students especially to those from rural areas and minorities.
2. Further strengthen the improvement strategy in learning and teaching in order to improve the quality of education which is reflected in the drop-out and redone rate. This can be achieved through concerted efforts of stressing on tough monitoring standards and improved good governance.
3. Further strengthen educational plan, financial management and auditing especially the regular and timely inspection to ensure the predictability and effective use of budget.
4. Rigorously implement the Education Strategic Plan and the Education Sector Supporting Program 2004-2008 which was finalized in August 2004.
5. Broadly monitor and analyze the strategy and implement the strategic plan, especially for tertiary education by reviewing the targets and indicators of education performance.
6. Consolidate the capacity building plan with program implementation through coordination team for capacity building at each department, while strengthening planning and monitoring process at central and provincial levels.
7. Improve management system in all district education offices and schools by improving governance and communication between school management and parents and local authorities to study and timely respond to the needs and requests.
8. Lastly, I think it is even more important for the MOEYS to focus on cooperation with the Ministry of Interior, local authorities and concerned institutions to effectively crackdown on gang activities in schools that have had negative consequences on education of our students, and caused disturbance to security, public order and safety of the society.
The Rectangular Strategy puts priority to education sector and considers being a key to reduce poverty reduction; human resources still an important sector for national development. In addition, I would like to emphasis that education is the long term and regular works as well as continuous across generation, it follows the logic that we need to wait 5 years to get fruit from planting tree while we have to wait up to 50 years to get knowledgeable person from human resource development. It is also important for human resources utilization by matching the type of works to the skills and genius to achieve our targets as a saying go “the sharp sword keep in the sheath with no use is useless”.
Therefore, educational institutions as well as Ministry of Youth, Education and Sport (MOEYS) have to commit their respective duties to attain the optimal outcome especially should allocate or deploy the graduates according to their skills and required places with incentives to those who are willing to teach at remote provinces such as Mondulkiri, Ratanakiri, Steng Treng, Banteay Mean Chey, Pailin, Preah Vihear and Koh Kong in order to effectively implement the Royal Government’s educational strategy as clearly stipulated in Cambodia Millennium Development Goals in 2003 to be “Education for All and All for Education”.
For human resources development, I have frequently pointed out that “good education produces good human resources for national development” which require us to do reform to enhance the quality of education to balance quality and quantity expansion. To enhance the quality of education, we need to adjust the necessary teaching and learning conditions and to expanse quantity, we need to build more schools and teachers; because number of children at educational age have been increased every year while social and market demand require high quality.
In the context of globalization, Cambodia has integrated into ASEAN and the World Trade Organization which require human resources to be able to compete in term of quality. In that sense, we have to ensure the high quality of education, value of certificate and human competency to be recognized by local, regional and world labour market. It also applies to commodities, qualities have to maintain in the market.
In the same vein, I would like to express my support to the Education Strategic Plan 2004-2008 of MOEYS that clearly specified in education forum to commit the Royal Government’s Rectangular Strategy in human resources development to guarantee capacity and high quality, good more, invention, good discipline and high responsibility.
Those are the concept and some visions for the education to develop human resources with equity and quality as set in education gaols, “Educated to be a good child, a good student and a good citizen” and follow four fundamentals of education, “Educated to be knowledgeable, doable, moral and liveable in the society.” I would like to warmly enthuse and appreciate for all awards that successfully attained in your academic life and become trainers as professional teaching now.
For Graduates in high school teaching, Graduates in elementary school teaching and Graduates in elementary school inspection and students who are trained to be teachers, I think that your selection is with high consciousness even though the salary for teachers are yet high enough. With that reason, may I take the opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to all graduands and students who choose teaching profession and express my thankful to all teaching staffs and administration staffs all over the country that fulfilled their duties in educating our children and adults!
The view that is “Teacher is a second parent” and awareness of teacher gratitude, “Teacher Day”, that I initiated in 1997; since then every the fifth of October considers to be “Teacher Day” aiming to establish culture and tradition of paying gratitude to teacher. Keeping this in mind, we have advised and educated all students to respect and pay gratitude to their teachers who have great duties as human resources makers to well educate our next generation of the country.
Upon those reasons and appreciations, I would like to extend my best wishes and success to all graduands, all students and teaching staffs in your great mission.
Before closing, I also would like to thank MOEYS and education partners including to donor organizations and countries who have well cooperated to attain number of achievement that worth to be proud and who have been working together to implement Education Strategic Plan 2004-208 and to make more significant changes and progresses by focusing both on quality and quantity. Besides, I would to express my appreciate and thankfulness to the management, civil servants, staff, lecturers and student of National Institute for Education who have worked hard to reach regular success.
In addition, I would like to appeal to all Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen to work together to turn the goal of the institution to reality by strengthening and expanding roles and duties of the institution base on the old fundamental of Pedagogy Faculty which is considered to be national Centre for human development in our Kingdom. Finally, on behalf of the Royal Government and my own self, I wish you all the five gems of Buddhist blessings. May I now declare the opening of the National Institute of Education from now on.