… I would take this opportune moment to talk about a number of issues. Minister HE Hang Chuon Naron just listed three challenges and sent them to me. I would like to answer to the three points, and from here, I declare something that is unprecedented. Firstly, in relation to lack of school buildings, especially some made of wood. Whether we should build schools of wood or concrete is one matter. The big story here is I would like to transfer all illegal logs arrested to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. I checked with General Sao Sokha, who heads the investigation of illegal loggings, and he told me there are between 30,000 to 40,000 cubic meters of illegal logs. HE Hang Chuon Naron may use it for building schools, tables, chairs, or even houses for teachers, all in the interest of education.
From today on, any illegal log arrested will go to the Ministry of Education. We no longer auction them because they will try to find license to export afterward. This would create again intention to go on logging illegally. I may clarify with the Ministry of Economy and Finance that while giving logs to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, it is a new investment and no cut of budget should occur. I am urging HE Ang Vong Vadhana, Minister of Justice, to make sure things go fast in court so that we can get a hold of illegal logs/woods. Illegal logging did not ask permission from the court, but when we arrest them, we had to go through court. Well, please speed things up there to get a hold of the wood in a timely manner.
Placing Some Forest under Protection Approved
I am placing leadership and management on this issue in HE Hang Chuon Naron. I just know that all illegal logs arrested will go and use in the interest of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. They can use those logs/woods to build housing facility for teachers serving the purpose of dispersing teachers to local level. Take for example, I built a number of houses for teachers. It is an attraction for teachers to come work and live there. I may declare now that I agree with the proposal for discussion between the Ministries of Environment and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, to place some of the forest, such as Prey Lang forest, under protection. We may allow those who involve in protecting the trees to help with the protection movement of the forest. The same is true for forest in the area of Kravanh (cardamom) mountain […]
I am asking the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports in principle if they dare accept the proposition. There would be certain procedures involved. We will go a step further on those. We may have to set up a mechanism to help each other with this. I am sure it is not the Ministry of Education’s power to act on this matter but I just want to ascertain that you will accept the offer. I think it is a good thing that we will invest hundreds of millions of USD into education from 30,000 to 40,000 cubic meters of logs. My concern here is to make sure that transporting them would not cause damages to the roads […]
Dispersing Teaching Staff to Rural Areas
The second challenge was too few and too many teachers. It is not a new issue. In education as well as in health sector, I always say, especially in health, that about 70% of physicians serve some 30% of our population in urban areas, while 30% of our teachers only serve 70% population in rural area. We worked successfully on dispersing our teachers to rural areas in those days. Now, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports will have to tackle this matter itself. We encourage efforts to disperse teachers once again to match the need in rural area. We have too many teachers in urban, but too few in rural areas.
We must make sure that a number of things has to be there for teachers to go live and work in rural area. I just mentioned that if we wanted to mobilize teachers to work in rural schools, one of the best way to do it is to solve housing problem. That we have this many logs, up to 30,000 or 40,000 cubic meters, we could use them to build housing for teachers. If, in any case, we cannot provide them with houses, we may make sure that they have access to some form of financial helps for them to hire a place […]
School Director Position Vacates for a Month, Ministry of Education Will Act
… There one other problem about assigning someone to the position of school director. The Ministers of Education, Youth and Sports, and Environment are of the will to see through decentralization and de-concentration efforts to delegate power to local authority. However, they do not seem to use it. Previously, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports did the task of making someone director of a school. Later, they let lower level authority to carry out this task. Take for instance, it is in the power of the provincial authority, with the evaluation from the district level, to make someone secondary school director. Sometimes, sub-national level demands power but does not use it adequately. I think, in that case, we should bring some power back then […]
Let us work out a deal here. We would allow the state of having no one in that position for only one month. If the provincial level fails to make someone school director, the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports will make one. When they do not use the power delegated, the Ministry may have to use it. If that would require me to give a signature, I would do so too. They have thousands of people under their leadership and management, how could they go without school directors? Let us work out a formula, in which city or provincial governors are the ones to make appointment of school directors based upon local evaluations. However, should the position is unoccupied for a month the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports is empowered to do the appointment instead […]
Gradual Increase of Retired Teaching Staff Salary
There is one matter that we need to do and is doing now. Let me affirm to teachers/professors in retirement that their retirement pension, at which time was small, about 400,000 Riel and they only get 60% of it, will have a gradual increase. As of tomorrow, lowest salary for Primary and Maternity School teachers will increase to 800,000 Riels or about 200 USD. Any teacher/professor goes into retirement after this date will earn more pension. I just approved a program last week, in which retired teachers/professors previously earned low pension, would have their pensions increased in gradual manner.
I wish to inform teacher/professor pensioners who went into retirement before the salary increase starting tomorrow that we are trying to narrow the gap between their pensions, based on precious salary, and the current salary increase. We will jack up their pension, not to reduce the current salary, to achieve that purpose. In just days, we will authorize payday for April before end of the month for our civil servants to celebrate the Khmer New Year days. We also have added a red envelop (hongbao) of 50,000 Riels for them. Our exchange rate is now 4,070 Riels to one USD. We must make sure taxpaying will make a quick return. The Ministries of Public Functions, Economy and Finance will also have to ensure another payday in the third week of May. My mother used to say that a piece of her hair split into ten to feed and educate us. I told her that a piece of mine split into 1,000.
Making Physical and Sports Education a National Movement
In the evening of 4 April, I will have a get-together and dinner with sportsmen and sportswomen, athletes, etc. Make sure that we have everyone involved in sports. Let us make this event a gathering to achieve a momentum for 2023 sports event. In fact, though there will or will not be sports event Cambodia will host in 2023, Cambodia would still have to strengthen its capacity in the fields of sports and physical education making it a national movement. I have a wish that one of my grandchildren will go into national team of football. Among all ten grandsons, at least one of them will be part of the Cambodian national team of football for 2023 sports event./.