Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished National and International Guests,
Dear all Participants!

          Today, I am truly pleased to be here with Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen in the Closing of the 2011–2012 Stocktaking and 2012–2013 Direction Setting Conference of the Ministry of Education Youth and Sports.

On behalf of the Royal Government and myself, I would like to express my appreciation and high valuation to the management, officials, and teachers, personnel of the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport for the joint effort to manage and implement education tasks in Cambodia achieving exemplary result and making the whole education sector progress remarkably.

Taking this opportunity, I also would like to highly appreciate and value the effort of your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, and participants of the conference in the past two days, actively taking part in discussions and exchanging of views which has mobilized knowledge, experiences and key concepts to be used as inputs to further enhance the quality of the direction setting of the strategic plan formulation and education action plan 2013. The involvement of the participants of the conference with spirit, conscience, and responsibility is the support and encouragement to the Royal Government in its march forward to achieving its long-term vision, which is mobilizing all national forces and solidifying them into one bond in order to build, preserve, protect and develop our Cambodian motherland into a rich, prosperous and sustainable nation with independence, peace, neutrality, sovereignty, territorial integrity, glory, and promote the value of ethics, morality, equity, justice, freedom and democracy, which are strong bases for our people to live with happiness and harmony in families, communities and the nation”.

The Royal Government is always concerned with the promotion of education, youth and sport sectors to build and develop human capacity with quality, knowledge, know-how, ethics, virtues, dignity, good health, strong and responsible spirit in order for them to make contribution to building Cambodia into a prosperous and advanced countries like others in the region and the world. The Royal Government always adheres to the principle of “Education for All”, which provides equitable education services to all children and youths who are in school-age through linking study programs with activities training their conscience to love the country, history, culture, peace, respects of rights and freedom, human dignity, and promote social justice, resist against all violent activities, and prevent, control and suppress productions, distributions and uses of narcotics and all forms of discrimination in the society.

In the implementation of this spirit, the Royal Government will continue promoting the quality and efficiency of the education and training services at all levels in education institutions including both public and private, in order to respond to the need of development. On this, first and foremost, we need to pay particular attention on general education in order to develop a strong basis of knowledge before gaining higher levels of knowledge and expertise. Alongside that, we also need to pay attention on strengthening training and upgrading the knowledge and methods of teachers, reforming study programs, strengthening governance and management capacity, increasing incentives for teachers to enable them to stay focus with their mind and spirit on research study and teaching, strengthening examination quality, improving education criteria, creating libraries, laboratories and increasing supply study materials. In addition, we need to link the strategic plan and study programs in a way that they are lined with the conditions of socio-economic development, responding to the needs of labor market and promoting the culture of study research and scientifically creative ideas in order to make contribution to the strengthening and expanding of the basis of economic growth for poverty reduction and livelihood improvement of the people.

In this sense, I truly have a pleasure with the achievements that we have jointly made during the 2011-2012 academic year.  On that, we have made a great success in fully eradicating the concept of “those who know more teach those who know less, and those who know less teach those who know nothing” that we encountered after the Victory Day “7 January 1979” over the Pol Pot genocide regime. At the same time, we has produced a number of lecturers and teachers, who was properly trained in the pedagogical principles from nursery to tertiary level.  We created pedagogical schools at the national and sub-national level to provide training on teaching methodology to lecturers and teachers. In parallel, the ministry has built an additional 572 schools at the primary and secondary levels between 2011-2012, of which 75 schools were built in the provinces along the Cambodia–Thailand border. This is the government defensive strategy to protect Cambodia’s territory and sovereignty under the framework of the government policy to build borderline of friendship, solidarity, cooperation and development. By December 31, 2012, my wife and I contributed to the building of 3,518 schools or equivalent to 18,258 classrooms nationwide. In addition to this, there are also a number of office buildings, libraries, boarding school students, laboratories and other school equipment for supporting training and educational process for our children. These achievements enable us to achieve the second goal of the Cambodia Millennium Development Goal in 2015 on universal basic education because we has achieved real education rate of 97% for 2011-2012 academic year.

Taking this opportunity, on behalf of the Royal Government and myself, I would like to highly value and express my sincere thanks to the management, civil servants at all levels, professors, lecturers, teachers, all parents of children, civil society, local and foreign charitable persons, local authorities, national and international non-governmental organizations, development partners, friendly countries for your contributions to support and closely cooperate with the Royal Government, aimed to better improve education sector in Cambodia.

With the rights policies, strong commitments and political will as well as contribution from our people nationwide, together with the great supports from our ally countries and development partners, the Royal Government has made all its effort to surmount the challenges and difficulties to lead the country and gradually move it forward to another new stage of development with pride and hope.

For instance, we had fulfilled our historical mission in bringing about full peace, stability and territorial unity to our nation through the successful implementation of “Win-Win Policy” of the Royal Government. This enables us to live with freedom, honesty and prosperity, which are the necessary prerequisites for development and poverty reduction. Truly, with this favorable condition, we have made great success in all sectors including economic, social, politic and cultural affairs as well as in international cooperation matter. For instance, in 2012, during the Cambodia’s ASEAN chairmanship, the Kingdom of Cambodia has successfully chaired and hosted the 21st ASEAN Summit and related meetings. Although we had suffered from the adverse impact of global financial and economic crisis, border conflicts, natural disastesr and other contagious diseases, the Royal Government still maintained political stability, sound macroeconomics, security, safety and social order for the nation and our people.

In addition, the Royal Government has made remarkable success in implementing key reform programs such as public administration reform and anti-corruption, armed force reform, legal and justice system reform, public financial management reform, decentralization and de-concentration reform, land reform, fishery and forestry reform, natural resource and environmental management to ensure good governance and sustained socio-economic development.

All achievements above cannot be separated from the progresses in both quantity and quality of the educational sector that we have built capable human resources with high responsible spirit and actively contributed to implementation of the socio-economic development agenda of the Royal Government. Evidently, during the 21st ASEAN Summit in 2012, our voluntary youths actively took part in facilitating the organization of the Summit and related meetings from the beginning to the end with high appreciation and pride. In addition, thousand of our voluntary youths have actively fulfilled their historical mission in the implementation of “old policies – new action in land reform” of the government to register land and offer land titles to people nationwide. These admirable activities are additional to those activities of thousand youths, who are fulfilling their active energetic role in all types of armed forces, all ministries/organization, social society as well as local and international organizations.

In order to provide additional inputs to the conference for direction setting and preparation of the education strategic plan 2012-2013, I would like to provide a number of recommendations as follows:

First: The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport must strengthen and expand the education of children at the primary level to be further improved and more extensive by paying attention to the promotion of the curriculum at the senior nursery level in order to achieve success in both quantity and quality at the primary level.  Along with this, the MoEYS must continue the campaign of enrolling every children in schools at the primary level in order to enhance the equality of education service delivery according to the principle of “Education for all” and must continue to reduce the school repetition and drop-out rate at the primary level by inspiring and promoting the participation from parents and the Commune Council, School Standing Committee, Buddhist monks and pagoda clergymen committee in order to educate the people in the locality to be aware of the importance of education and encourage their children to attend school.   Moreover, the MoEYS must pay further attention to expand the scholarship program for smart students and students with difficulties, especially female and poor students in order to give them more opportunities to complete their studies by moving from primary to secondary and then to tertiary and higher levels.

Second: The MoEYS must pay high attention to the factor of quantity and quality by ensuring the efficiency of the implementation of the academic curriculum and the promotion of study in the fields of mathematics, science, technologies, foreign languages and social science.  Along with that, all education operators, ministries-institutions, local authorities and related stakeholders as well as all parents must support and encourage all students to carry out researches and learn more extensively on our customs, tradition, arts, cultures and civilization in order to enhance the education on morality, virtue, respect of rights and freedom and dignity of human being in the society.  Along with that, all Ministries in charge of education and training must further strengthen and expand gender equality in the academic curriculum in order make sure that all students including the disabled and female students can gain benefits from the specialized subjects and research on professions and new employment aiming to equip all learners with the capacity and multi-skills in order to increase their productivities and for them to be able to grab the employment opportunity and create new employments which contributes to the national socio-economic development.

Third: The MoEYS must strengthen and accelerate the non-formal education system to be in line with the formal education system by increasing closer cooperation with all development partners in order to collect all dropped out students, over-school aged children and citizens who lost opportunity for education to get back to school based on the “Professional Literacy or Distance Learning Programs” with the objective to fully eradicate the illiteracy among our people to achieve the Cambodia Millennium Development Goal.

Fourth: The Ministries in charge of education and higher education must pay attention to the skill development such as engineering, industry, mine and energy, agriculture, science and technology, especially promote and enhance the scientific research among students and teachers to be more comprehensive and conform to the context of socio-economic development.  In this connection, higher education institutions either state owned or private ones must build and develop libraries and laboratories to be sufficiently standardized based on their respective skills in order to create favorable conditions to support the academic research of students and teachers aiming to promote the concept of creative ideas, leading to the new finding and new creation.

Fifth: The MoEYS must try to strengthen the implementation of law on education and legal documents to be more efficient as well as strengthening the panning and statistics of education and plan of action at the sub-national level properly and clearly, and promote sufficient distribution of teachers to the local communities, especially to the remote rural areas and places with teacher shortages by preparing appropriate shelters and ensuring their safety. Along with that, the MoEYS must promote the implementation of development pan for civil servant capacity building, academic staffs and teachers at the national and sub-national level, to be more efficient so that we have sufficient human resources for sustainable succession.

Sixth: The MoEYS must increase firm attention on youth development by encouraging and providing positive attributes and opportunity to students to be able to develop their potential in education for jobs, health, participatory decision making, contributing to family and community development and national development with high responsibility, hope and self-confidence. At the same time, the MoEYS must prepare mechanism to facilitate, monitor and evaluate the policy implementation and national strategic plan for youth development and preparing the network of youth volunteers either at the national or sub-national levels in order to mobilize youth’s force to support the local community and to promote the movement of “good children, good students, good friends, good citizens” who will become the pillars and bamboo shoots to manage the country’s destiny and people in the future. Moreover, the MoEYS must strengthen and expand the activities of physical education and sports in all educational institutions by paying attention in improving, repairing and constructing the sport facilities for appropriate training and competition, and pay attention to the physical education and sport to be more comprehensive responding to the development of the sport industry in the region and the world.

Seventh: The MoEYS must increase the link between the content of academic curriculum at all levels to the education of morality, culture, customs, tradition, respect of rights and dignity of human being, as well as promoting the respect of the principles of freedom, democracy and justice.  At the same time, we also have to relate to the spirit of fighting against all kinds of violence, eradication of gangsters, preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS, abolition of the use of drugs and women and children trafficking, and all forms of discrimination in the society.

Before ending, I would like to, once again, appreciate and express deep appreciation to Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen and all participants of the conference who have participated and contributed and exchanged good ideas, experiences and perspectives to make this conference a fruitful success.

At the end, along with the Closing of the 2011–2012 Stocktaking and 2012 – 2013 Direction Setting Conference of the Ministry of Education Youth and Sports, I would like to wish Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, national and internal distinguished guests and all participants the four gems of Buddhist blessing: Longevity, Nobility, Health and Strength.