First of all I would like to express my sincere thanks for the Mr. Chea Chamroeun of the Chamroeun Polytechnics University and Mr. Chhuon Chanthan of the IIC for extending their cordial invitation to me to preside over this graduation ceremony. It is indeed a pleasure to see that we have today offered 1,627 students from the two universities with diplomas – which is a remarkable contribution in the field of human resource development for the country. I wish to take this opportunity to also express my sincere thanks to all professors who have made their efforts in sharing knowledge with our younger generations for their successive efforts for their lives, families and for our country.
It is indeed a good time to thank our graduates’ parents for endeavoring to provide financial assistances for their children education and also thanks go to those students who are incumbent officials in various government ministries and institutions for taking their time to complete their studies, and by which they achieve today bachelor and master degrees accordingly.
I also feel encouraged with the fact that there have been another 1882 students registered for education, and what surprises me most is the fact that there are some students whose age reaches 60 already. It is never too late to learn. Doing so is also a good example for younger generation as well.
In the past 27 years, after the fall of the Pol Pot’s genocide regime, efforts have been made to restore the availability of human resources. First trainings were made possible for those Government’s officials, the armed forces, police and other state institutions. It was said in those days going to work and learn at the same time. Those trainings have provided the Government with officials who had attended short, medium and long-term courses. Some of them spent more time in various kinds of study courses than in work. Some of our officials went for a six month study and returned for a six-month work and then went back for another year study and the cycle has repeated on and on.
Another effort to help restore the human resources for the country was the fact that those survived the Pol Pot’s regime helped put together and to work again in those faculties and universities. Many of them who had not had a chance to complete their studies because of the Pol Pot regime could go on to finish their studies. Some of them later on have become professors, doctors, etc. We had in the past organized formal training for some officials who have not had finished their secondary educations – take for instance the Yukunthor School.
One more effort that we had put into practice was the opening of the school year in 1979-80 for those classes from elementary to secondary level. Education in those years was a spread of only ten years and it has been recycled to eleven and then to now twelve year education. Some of the students who finished or were close to finish their ten year education had been provided with the opportunity to go to former Eastern Europe for further education and vocational trainings. I remember that in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I have requested for trainings and re-trainings of staff in almost every country that I set foot on – former Soviet Union, Germany, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Chem Vidhya – a pundit of diplomacy was trained in a foreign country.
We used to have one more effort inside the country to get our students to complete the university and after that they have to work for the Government. This contract came to a close in 1996-97. The contract was that the Government offered scholarships for students and they had to sign a deal that they would go work for the Government or state. Now we could not do that anymore. As I said on many occasions that being appointed to a position without fair competition is no longer the practice. So the fourth possibility also opened a great deal of options and chances for our students and officials to finish and to continue to finish their studies.
Thanks to these combined efforts we have been able to do a lot in the past and to the present. Cambodia has gone through so many changes. Setting up institutions after the fall of the Pol Pot’s regime was difficult. Because knowing of those tremendous difficulties in putting them together that we come to know its true value. I used to tell many people that it is easy for them to come to Cambodia at this time, because no matter how they see Cambodian now, it was worse still in 1979. It is important to keep what we have achieved from difficult effort.
After 1979, I instructed efforts to search for human resources to work in respective ministries and the fact that we have moved to this stage could not imply that we did not have a good human resource. Some of them I offered to other ministries in those days and some had been returned like Chumteav Bo Rasy, HE DPM Sok An, etc. Now I have noticed that some of the hard-to-find officials in those days for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have gone to work for other ministries. We have at that time recruited everyone ranging from former Lon Nol military officials to the royal family member, for instance Peo Lida.
We now are lucky that more sources of knowledge are available on internet, TV… the question is whether you take the time to study it or not. I am glad to see that the graduation today also brings the presence of professors from the Unversity of Baan Samdech Chaopraya – which bestowed upon me the other day an Honorary Causa. I wish to take this opportune moment to thank the Chamroen Polytechnics Uni. for offering me 413 of its scholarships in between 2002 and 2006-2007, of which 76 are for master level and the rest for bachelor degree. I also have received some of the scholarships from other universities as well and I offered those to children of the poor so that they could continue their education./.