Monday, February 28, 2011

Speech at the Degree Conferring Ceremony to the Graduates of the Royal University of Phnom Penh, RUPP (2009-2010)

Phnom Penh, February 22, 2011

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished National and International Guests,
Rector, Vice-Rectors, Management, Staffs, Civil Servants, Lecturers and Students!

Today, it is my great pleasure to participate in the Degree Conferring Ceremony for Graduates of 2010 with Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, and Students of the Royal University of Phnom Penh at this moment. This auspicious event is the 15th one that I have attended and crafted lots of memories, which have always been in my mind. This ceremony showcases another new attainment that is beneficial to our nation.

According to the report by H.E Rector and H.E Im Sothy, Minister of Education, Youth and Sport, we could clearly learn that the outcome of fresh 2476 graduates is just one of many achievements that the Royal University of Phnom Penh and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports have achieved so far. These achievements, indeed, have responded to the agenda of the Royal Government and true need of Cambodia with objectives to build and develop competent, talented and quality human resources in order to contribute to socio-economic development and poverty reduction of Cambodian people.

This opportunity, on behalf of the Royal Government and myself, I would like to highly value the achievement made by the Royal University of Phnom Penh and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, in particular endeavors of professors, lecturers and all officials working in this education sector. Obviously, today the University has timely produced large number of intellectual capital that we need human resources to develop our nation. Through this, I would like to continue supporting and encouraging the University to continue fulfilling mission in order to diversify the academic programs, which will provide huge benefits to our whole society and people in conformity with the Royal Government’s vision for human resource development. At the same time, success we receive today is a birth from joint efforts made by relevant institutions and stakeholders in education sector and contribution from the kind-hearted for years. Through this, we can see that these achievements cannot be decoupled from valuable support from international friends, who have always provided cooperation and enormous support for the development of Cambodian education strategic policy.

Along with this, I would like to convey my most loyal appreciation to the efforts made by all graduates who have paid great attention and made utmost efforts physically, mentally to overcome all kinds of obstacles and bring about bright success today. What we are witnessing now is a huge pride belonging to all of us, Graduates, Royal University of Phnom Penh, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, development partners and all Cambodian people. Furthermore, I would never forget to also appreciate and congratulate fathers, mothers, guardians, spouses and family members of students who have always provided moral and financial support to children, husbands or wives to complete education, and today’s result cannot be separated from the gratitude and contribution from all of them. This is the reality that we must value and acknowledge.

The Rectangular Strategy for Growth, Employ ment, Equity and Efficiency has been serving as compass for development process and implementation of activities of all sectors. Among those are: enhancing good governance, capacity building and human resource development, agricultural promotion, rehabilitation and development of physical infrastructures and private sector development and employment, and these sectors have been making remarkable progress. In general, we have made a lot of achievements; however, I would like to cite some achievements as evidence of our efforts. Obviously, with respect to development of physical infrastructures that we have actively carried out, we had opened construction site of bridge crossing lower Mekong River at Neak Loeung, inauguration of concrete bridge crossing over Tonle Sap and road linking eastern head to the National Road 6A, Cambodia-China Friendship Bridge Prek Kdam, Cambodia-China Friendship Bridge Prek Tamak. Agriculture productivity has been improved and diversification has been conducted by using utmost efforts and potentials of this sector, in which e have increased the rainy season rice productivity from more than 2 tons per hectars to 3 tons per hectars annually and we have also increased the dry season rice productivity from more than 4 tons to 5 tons per hectar annually. Through this expansion, Cambodia is expected to gain economic growth of around 6-7% in this 2011.

Indeed, along with focusing on other sectors the Royal Government has always regarded education sector a key in promoting the integrity and dignity of human beings as well as increasing the speed of economic growth and efficiency. On this point, I am very proud because all of these began with initiatives started 30 years ago from the Government’s concerns and cares on this sector including: People with low education teach the ones with no education”, “People with high education teach the ones with low education”, and “We all need to learn continuously as always”.This concept certainly has contributed to all the achievements and promoted the expansion of the entire education sector that we have seen at the present; we have even established Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Degree Levels by ourselves. Hence, whatever we have obtained at the present did not occur randomly, but they occurred because of our firm willingness, commitment and efforts with ownership to make them happen.

Highly considered on this sector is initiated from the fact that we know in advance that our people necessarily need education to promote their living standards and the development of education sector will become an important factor contributing to ensuring peace, political stability and social order with human dignity, sustainable development and morality. Therefore, strengthening capacity and development of human resources through increasing the transfer of knowledge, experiences, and technologies are certainly the key mechanisms to achieve our goals.

Based on this perspective, I would like to request the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport to continue focusing on the development of human resources for youths and younger generations, who may become talented and high-quality producers. In parallel, all education institutions have to continue improving their trainings and quality-improvement of their study programs in terms of efficiency in order to eliminate the view of “excessive but insufficient”, which means we have many experts in our country, but they are inactive in promoting productions. Why do we have to focus more on the production issue? The reason is that production is a core of economic growth; and a society with few productions will experience little economic growth. Furthermore, high growth of our economy may happen, but would require our efforts and diligence to create production system with high technology, which could be achieved through modernizing technology of productions and enterprises.

In this regard, I still hold a strong belief that “the value of education is a factor or mean for individual improvement and socio-economic development”. On the other hand, in the process of reaching globalized international economy, globalizing tertiary education is another new key that is essential for the development of quality and efficient education sector, and seizing the opportunity of international cooperation in order to achieve mutual benefits. In the future, our National University must be a leading institution by working hard to change the scope and image of its training programs to become a University with international standard, including many sorts of new academic programs. In addition, in order to fully achieve the goals of the development, our National University has to continue ensuring the value of our degrees with quality and universal recognition that can be used in labor markets in our countries and abroad. This work will accelerate the integration of Cambodia with equity in the regional and global affairs, and achieve the knowledge based economic growth and ensure the competitive advantage of our country too.

In this spirit, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport has to lead others in strengthening and developing human resources with quality in line with the goals of education, which is to educate to become a “good child, good student, good friend and good citizen”’, as well as in line with the four pillars of education that are “knowledge, know-how, good morality, and living with other harmoniously”. This work is a factor to ensure sustainable development and poverty reduction as well as building Cambodia’s society to be a society with fast development that people have tremendous knowledge in technology, deep understanding of culture and decent living standards with happiness, peace and dignity.

Generally, our education has to take quality into account if not then all our hard-work and expenses would be meaningless because we ruin not only the benefits provided to students but also damage the capacity of our nation living in globalized network. At the same time, we also cannot have the living standard and economy at the international level if we do not possess labor force at the international standard quality or education with international standard for our country.

In this regard, the Royal Government strongly believes that Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Civil Servants in all levels of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and all Lecturers will continue their duties with high attention and firm commitment on these tasks, and the new achievements will truly contribute to the promotion of honor, dignity, national reputation in the national, regional and global levels.

In this era of knowledge, education is to define the future of the nation and the hope of each Government. In this connection, building human resources with high quality is the mechanism to ensure the process of economic and social integration in the region. It also reflects the qualification of the people of those countries as well as the ability of those nations in responding to the new challenges and needs posed by the highly competitive and changing global markets, and in order to prevent you from losing profession in the future, you have to abide by the notion of learning and learning for life in all kinds even though you have already graduated from the Bachelor’s Degree programs and have been exposed to the society and labor markets. Further self learning and research will sharpen our capability, intelligence and spirit to be brighter. In addition, you have to maintain your position to struggle, be patient and try your utmost to gain work experiences, which are the foundation for growth of your living standard. You have to be stick to the ownership, discipline, responsibility in either working lives or families and these factors will define your value, dignity and future. At the same time, you have to learn how to fully utilize your time by not having it wasted, which is the obstacle for development. You have to know that our market is quite extensive, including financial industry such as insurance, banking, micro-finance, pawnshop ...etc. Along with this, various specializations are also highly required such as civil engineering (construction), mines, energy, railroads, environment, and electrical technology.

Moreover, if you can set up your own business in the society, it would be great and most successful in life because we can manage and be responsible for our own destiny, and only those who have been stick to education can receive greater success. The creation of your own business does not mean only to help yourself, but also contribute to the national development such as 100 Riels is the hundred times of 1 Riels. Those businesses are also creating branches of socio-economy, in which it provides a number of jobs to other people. In general, your continued efforts will contribute to achieving objectives of the Royal Government, which is set to gain the annual economic growth of 7%. In fact, stemming from your progress, each family’s progress, which is part of the society, will boost the whole nation to be more developed as well. Taking this opportunity, I would like to wish all graduates success, happiness in lives in the future.

Once again, I strongly believe that all 2476 students, who will receive the Degrees of Bachelor and Master shortly, will definitely become the knowledge based workers to serve our society and you will prepare yourselves to be educated people with high consideration and good morality in order to lead Cambodia to position firmly in the region and the world.

Finally, my wife and I would like to wish Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished National and International Guests, Rectors and Vice-Rectors, Management and Staffs, Lecturers and all Students the four gems of Buddhist blessing: Longevity, Nobility, Health and Strength.

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