Excellencies, Ladies, Gentlemen,
Distinguished National and International Guests,
Delegates from the Municipal and Provincial Office of Education!
Today, it is my great honor and pleasure to attend the Launching of the National Literacy Campaign 2015. On behalf of the Royal Government and my own behalf, I would like to congratulate and highly appreciate the efforts made by the management of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and its officials nationwide, UNESCO as well as development partners who have unanimously consented to launch this National Literacy Campaign 2015 today. This is an important task for us all to continue paying high attention constantly.
Taking this auspicious opportunity, I would like to greet all levels of education officials all over the country who have participated in the launch of the National Literacy Campaign 2015, and through delegates from municipal and provincial Office of Education, I would like to greet and express my appreciation to all local education officials who have made all their physical and mental efforts to train children, youths, students, and adults who are illiterate to become fruitful.
In fact, education is an investment activity utilizing plenty of resources and time with intangible outcomes. In general, education is an investment to improve the job efficiency at the present as well as preparing for the future in order to respond to the market demand toward building intellectual capital and finally the social capital that would promote productivity growth, job efficiency and sustainable national economic development.
Based on development experiences, it is shown that the progress of each country primarily relies on social capital, which includes intellectual capital and human resource with ethics,playing a pivotal role to address related challenges. Intellectual capital has truly provided education and knowledge to all citizens in the society through literatures, articles, books and other research documents, as well as preserving the national culture and new scientific discovery. For this 21st Century, having excellent social capital, coupled with ethical human resources, is a determining factor in accelerating the potential of social-economic development.
Undoubtedly, the success of education sector primarily depends on the capacity of educational institutions at all levels, including the capacity and professional ethics of officials, professors, teachers and academic staffs, who are training human resources both in theory and practice. Moreover, in the context of market economy, these successes could not be separated from the active participation of private sector and development partners.
Realizing this necessity, the Royal Government has always paid attention to promote education and training in order to further boost the development of human resources with quality, knowledge and practice, morality, virtue and good behavior, good health, strong physical appearance and high sense of responsibility in order to contribute to the development of Cambodia to be more advanced as those in the region and the world. The RGC has always adhered to the principle of “education for all”and provision of educational service with equity for children and youths, who are in the ages of study, by linking curriculum to the conscience of loving nation, history, peaceful culture, and respect of rights, freedom and human dignity.
In this content, I am really pleased with the achievements we have continuously achieved, in which we widely succeeded the closure of “High Knowledgeable People Teach Low Knowledgeable People and Low Knowledgeable People Teach People Knowing Nothing” situation completely, which we have faced after the Victory Day “7 January 1979” during the Pol Pot Regime.At the same time, we also established professor and teacher resources, who are all receiving strict and appropriate training based on teaching profession framework from kindergarten to higher education. We established Teacher Training Schools, both national and sub-national levels, to educating and training teaching profession for professors and teachers.
This is the active contribution of the continued development of the educational sector, which is the most important policy in the development strategy, push of economic growth and poverty reduction as set in Rectangular Strategy-Phase III, with the goals of accelerating economic growth, increasing employment to promote social equity and effectiveness of public administration in Cambodia to better serve the citizens.
Indeed, “Adult Literacy and Education Campaign” was established since 1979 with the objective of eliminating illiteracy in Cambodia. Around 33,597 volunteers were mobilized to participate in this campaign. Amongst them were teachers, government officials and secondary school students, they prepared literacy classes of 6 hours per week, and received rice or cash in return as their incentive. After 150 hours of teaching (5-6 months), those students from literacy class were able to read, write, and do some basic calculation. Through this work, the Government of Cambodian People’s Republic had saved thousands of Cambodian people from illiteracy misfortune.Continually, this program has been extended for people, who are disable, and such blind or deaf people also received the literacy program, which allows them to read, write, calculate number, and be able to communicate in sign language.
In continuing this good tradition, in the closing of the 3rd National Education Forum held on 13th September 2002, I raised some important points related to the Education for All and poverty reduction strategy in order to achieve the target of education for all in Cambodia by 2015. At that time, I agreed and strongly supported Education Strategic Plan (ESP) and Education Sector Support Program (ESSP) with the target of promoting the basic education for 9 years.
Furthermore, formal education cannot absorb all children and also cannot allow them to receive basic education for 9 years. Thus, we used the non-formal education program in order to ensure children and adults to get the basic education equally without discrimination by gender, race and class, and pay attention to revising the academic curriculum to be comparative with the formal education program. Moreover, we have also paid attention to educate them on living in society, good attitude and good work in order to make a basic change for getting a professional job and job creation that is consistent with the education policy of the Royal Government, setting universal 9-year basic education to be linked with professional literacy.
Therefore, I believe that in 2015 we need a national literacy campaign with quality and efficiency for increasing the percentage of literacy among adults to 84.4% before the end of 2015 in accordance with the Cambodian Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and for providing equal chance in accessing basic education and continuing education for all adults in accordance with the principle of “education for all and all for education”.
Literacy is very important because literate people can use their skills to improve their employments as well as their quality of life through having a good job with a decent income and chance to be further trained. Thus, the literacy enables people to participate in society effectively and understand other important issues in the society and life.
In this sense, along with the launching of the National Literacy Campaign 2015 from now on, I would like to appeal to all national and international institutions, community and all Cambodian citizens to continue paying high attention on literacy as well as non-formal education with my additional recommendation as follows:
First: RGC Members and civil servants at all levels, when fulfilling your duties at communities, must go literacy classes in order to encourage and make contribution to solving all requests accordingly.
Second: Authorities at all levels must pay more attention in motivating the people who have not learned or dropped schools to learn again through all aspects of non-formal education, particularly trying to facilitate the disabled to be able to learn at their practical situation.
Third: Education officials at all levels as well as teachers need to have willingness and strengthen their code of ethics as professional teachers in order to contribute to the improvement of both formal and non-formal education to be developed both quantity and quality. In that, Ministry of Education, Youths, and Sports have to create competition program among teachers to promote participating efforts and to arouse the activeness in this literacy program as well.
Fourth: All public and private media systems including radios, televisions, newspapers, magazines and bulletins should help to broadly disseminate the power of literacy work to people for their broad understanding of “National Literacy Campaign 2015”.
Fifth: Pupils and students at public and private institutes, youth, Scouts and Cambodian Red Cross’s youth should actively participate on voluntary basis to teach illiterate people at your community. Parents help to push all your children to attend general education. As for people who are not literate or dropped out, you should try your best to learn from literacy or equivalent class near your house. All in all, all the beloved students and citizens shall think that the importance is the effort in achieving great education and the willingness in studying and researching to achieve better understanding, so we can compete with others and can be ready to deal with obstacles in life and live better.As a matter of fact, to seek for a grasp firm of education is like rafting against flowing water, it is very difficult. Therefore, you should be very strong willed and should not be overcome by the fear and keep practicing the self-will and self-principle. You should always keep in mind that the pens and the notebook that you are having right now can change your life, your family, your community as well as the whole appearance of your country.
Sixth: Pagodas and religious temples needs to mobilize monks, priests, and nuns actively participate in motivation of professional literacy program through preaching the benefit of the education.
Seventh: Development partners, especially non-governmental organizations must increase cooperation and strengthen partnership through supporting non-formal education programs especially literacy and life-skill linkage program to ensure continuity.
Eighth: Owners of factories, enterprises and private companies should help to promote and provide literacy courses along with other vocational training courses to all workers for their benefits and owners’benefits.
Once again, on behalf of the RGC and myself, I would like to appreciate academic staff of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport as well as teachers and professors who have made all their physical and mental efforts to fulfill their duties with great professionalism, until achieving this great result regardless of the challenges that must be overcome, especially the challenge of their economic hardship.I would like to express sincere gratitude toward all the monks, citizens throughout the country, as well as the development partner, private sector, National NGOs and International NGOs and all the donors who have contributed to building firm education in Cambodia after all this time. Please continue to support and cooperate for the purpose of better education system and human resource building in Cambodia and also promote Cambodia Literacy to achieve efficient result.
Finally, together with the Launching of the “National Literacy Campaign 2015”, I would like to wish Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen as well as all distinguished national and international guests with the four gems of Buddhist blessings: Longevity, Nobility, Health and Strength.