… I have some more comments and advice for you. One should not have the thought that after getting entrance to the University, one would automatically become an intellectual per se. In real life some finished the University education but could not perform their duty too. This I would say they are like lazy eggs that after such a long hatching process they have turned themselves to be bad ones. They do not hatch to be chicks. This is an important point that you have to keep in mind that self-effort is the key while helps from teachers only guide you through in accordance with curriculum and research orientation. You are the one who have to make yourself improved.
I am glad with the report by Dr. Kao Kim Huorn about the selection of 500 best students for the Hun Sen scholarships from those who have passed the Senior High School with remarkably high grade. Among the 4,166 students, we have narrowed down to 500, therefore I take that all of you who are present here are the best among the best to be provided with the scholarship. This is the first time for such a scholarship selection and provision to be done.
Many Universities have given to me some scholarships so that I could award them to students who finished senior high school education and wish to continue their education to the University. I would give my remark today that sometimes we only thought of resource-lacking for such continuation but not their study ability. My cabinet staff has to reorganize our objectives in providing those scholarships. We primarily provided scholarships to students from poor families without financial ability for their children to continue with their studies. But that has proven to be insufficient because there are two factors regarding this consideration.
First, resource lacking which could be precondition for such a scholarship provision, but second, whether they have the ability to further their study to higher education or not. That is why I have asked my cabinet staff to reconsider criterion for provision of scholarship to those students. As we can see now that The University of Cambodia has taken a leading role in fulfilling this mission. They have selected the best students, who have passed with high scores in the latest exam finishing their senior high school level, for provision of scholarship.
This is indeed not to disqualify those from the poor families from going for tertiary education but the selection will have to be judged by their exam results. If they have a low score in their exam and their families could not afford to send them to the University, we have to think an alternative option for them. Take for instance we could transfer them to other vocational training facilities while keeping their scholarships for those who have better ability. We should see the unproductive result of the above manner of providing scholarships. We offered a scholarship to a student, but because s/he could not make it at school, s/he is not qualified at work and never makes it in school. That is why I see that what is being done by UC is for the good cause and I congratulate their initiative in making a scholarship contest.
Because we call it the national scholarship for best students, I will personally see through myself as to how many of you will make it to the end and become educated and able-working persons. It is indeed also important and worth thinking not only that you are given scholarship by UC, but your parents and siblings have taken all the burdens so that you are able to pursue your studies. So before you think of conducting your actions, you have to think of those involved in providing you with this potential opportunity for education, the Chancellor Handa of UC, me and your parent, at the very least.
Compared to other countries in the region, I think you all have the best opportunity to pursue education despite the fact that Cambodia enjoys peace just from the late 1998 to the present. Before 1998 or after 1979, the country was in a mixed situation between peace and war, making education in some parts of the country impossible. We could also say that even from 1970-75, some places had education access and facility while others did not.
Thanks to the win-win policy, we have in the end united the whole country and improved infrastructure in rural areas. We now have more schools built in the local areas opening education access to students who in the past had to travel a long way to get to school. We have upgraded the level of education from primary school to junior high school at the local level thanks to the fact that we have more school facilities there. All is done for the sake of fulfilling the constitutional aim of giving every Cambodian a nine year education system for free.
In order to get there, it is a pre-requisite that we have to screen for best students to continue their education to tertiary level. Some politicians lied about educations in foreign countries. Take for instance you can ask the Chancellor Handa of UC, who is Japanese, whether all post-high school graduates go to the University in Japan. The same is true here in Cambodia. The State Universities could not absorb all of graduates and this situation has made way for private education facilities to be established. Some of the State Universities provide scholarship as well as fee paying system for students. We have to wait and see how many of the 500 will make it to the end and become able-persons.
Talking about Cambodian expatriates, a man from the United States of America wrote to me in 1998 that Japan would continue to offer assistance if he was appointed to the post of Governor of the National Bank. He does not know that I know Japan well enough and its conditions for credit provision. It was because of old debt that we have to pay back plus interest. This is the condition for further loans. Another also from the US wrote to me that he would like to help build the country , that in his position to be head of custom office. What do they think we are? We have our staff on-the job training for the past 20 years we should at least be knowing what we are doing too.
Prior to the establishment of the second-term Royal Government in 1998, another wrote me that he wished to be Minister for Finance or a Governor of a province. They came with heaps of diplomas but just to be proven a fake. What I have said is tips for you who have got the scholarships opportunity. Human resources are not to have many people queuing in long line but to have a person as one element that can produce many functions.
I am one of them in the past 37 years of my life as a politician. That is why I said that my whole life’s experience is being secretary or record keeper for senior level officials. I am still a secretary when I become the Prime Minister.
As of now things improve for me. I only give directives and provide hands-on and things will get done. That is why I tell you the best thing is not in the sense that we have many people but a small number of people that can carry out many functions. I have now the Supreme National Economic Council (SNEC) as a think-tank and those of you who have done the best could be admitted into this body. What I have said today is what they have compiled.
I wish also to make my remarks to parents that giving out tangible property to their children is just one means but what is more important than all this is knowledge and know-how. Knowledge and know-how would later produce more property than what is given out by parents. We Khmers say knowledge and know-how could never be damaged by termite or rats. Tangible property could be subjected to harm by fire, theft, etc. but knowledge and know-how would not be classified as risky as that at all.
Talking about this I saw a spot on TV produced by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, and I urge HE Im Setthi, the Secretary of State, to look into this matter immediately. It is a spot that urges our parents and students to enroll their kids in the coming school year. It was in the sequence that the wife said to her husband, “if I knew that you are illiterate, I would not have married you.” I think this cause a contradictory message to various people and as we know some well-to-do businessmen are also illiterates in our country.
What we want to get to is parents know that it is important to enroll their kids in the new school year and not to dishonor or damage marital relationship.