Most Female Students, Quality Education

I am so glad today to be able to join with all of you once again in presenting diploma for 3,169 graduates of the Vanda Institute. This institute has the most female students. This is what the Royal Government would like to have. When I presided over the inauguration of AEON Supermarket and Mall, I met a number of young employees. They claimed to have graduated from Vanda Institute. In another inauguration ceremony of the Cho Ray Hospital Phnom Penh, accountants working there also told me they graduated from Vanda Institute. This has ascertained the fact presented in the report that among 3,169 students, 2,672 of them have already found their jobs.

Sustainable development of a school as well as the need for quality teaching/education require true competency. There has been a strong competition among tertiary education institutions. To win this battle one need to acquire competence in human resource training. They cannot expect to bring the ceiling of school fee down to attract students. Our students may not choose to go to expensive schools but good school with quality education. I am calling on all of tertiary education institutions to make bolstering quality and competency in their training as objective for school development. I did signed sub-decrees to dissolve some schools already. I am sure female students are choosing this institution for their education is also because they see its quality too.

Compete for Jobs, 7% Growth of GDP, Riel Gains Value

I am calling on the graduates to keep up their studies and do not forget that we have serious competition not only in the region or the world but also in our country for good job. Everything will start from whether or not we are competent enough to do the required job. Some people have opted for self-employment career after graduation. In this trend they have created jobs for other people too. Please mark it that one needs to strengthen capacity and subscribe to the idea that study is going on. The world is still in chaos. The world economic crisis is not over yet. It has resulted in slowdown tendency for economies in the US and Europe. Some even experienced negative growth.

Now economies in Asia also suffer slowdown. For instance, China, whose economic growth has always been standing around 8%, 9% and 10% has now set its goal for only 7% growth. However, economies in Asia are still in fortunate circumstance as China and India with a combined population of 2,500 million still maintain growths in their economies. If the two suffer economic downturn at the time when the world was hit by financial crisis, other Asian economies would have crashed too.

All in all, the Cambodian economy has been predicted to grow not lower than 7% per annum in both medium and long term. Before the world economic crisis, we had reached a zenith growth of two digits in 2005 – 13.3% and above 10% for 2006 and 2007. With impacts from the world financial crisis, the Cambodian economic growth went down to 6.8% in 2008, 0.1% in 2009, and gradually recovered to 6% in 2010 and 7% in 2007. We have maintained inflation below 5% and last year the rate was only 3%.

Some of you may have remembered what I said when I was here last recently about the Riel currency value and exchange rate. Yesterday the Riel currency stayed at 4026 to a USD. To increase high salary could not be good. We have, according to our budget law, wished for an exchange rate to stay around 4050 Riel to a USD. However, in time of traditional Buddhist Phjum Ben ceremony the exchange rate came to 4070 or 4080 Riel to a USD. In the present, as we need to purchase rice, pay tax and Chinese New Year recently and there will be the Khmer New Year on the way, there is a great deal demand for Riel currency.

The situation will jack up the Riel currency and this will have impact of course on some 700,000 workers who are paid in USD. It will also impact on export. People change USD into Riel to purchase rice from farmers for export. However, it is not too bad. That is what I wanted to bring to your attention about inflation where the Riel currency loses its value and purchasing power dwindles.

Price of Fuel Surges

I also said days ago about price of fuel. Now it has surged. Being a politician one has to also know about factors involved – social and economics. Some countries said they could no longer produce below-cost fuel and they are going to stop. Supply will dwindle. We have approved the budget for the Ministry of Economy and Finance to purchase fuel – gas and diesel. We have food and seed in stock to deal with disasters. We also need to have stock of fuel too since the price comes down.

Officials to Be IT Literate

Tomorrow I will embark on a trip to Japan to participate in the UN-Japan co-hosted conference on disaster. The world is in turmoil caused by climate change that brings about frequent disasters, in our country and countries in the region and world. It has required that we need to conduct a thorough study to develop individual and institutional capacity regularly to respond to challenging issues. We must open up our brain. Let us not stay as accountants or Bank clerks. We need to know more and the more we learn the better we will be. Remember, when you know less, it is impossible even to ask a question.

We have proclaimed conduct of e-government. We need to have people with ability to operate electronics to get this objective going. I have declared in the Cabinet as well as the National Assembly to get on to IT awareness and knowhow. How many members in the National Assembly know how to turn computers on and access information online let alone to operate other programs? In the Cabinet meeting room, everyone has access to a computer but they do not seem to use them. They should at least learn to use built-in IT options in smart phones, as they will help with work communication.

They should at least know how to use some communication programs like WhatsApp or Viber, etc. for the sake of speeding up information sharing and decision-making. This will help succeed the goal of having e-government. I urge them to ask younger people to help them. I appreciate it that people in police and military forces have become IT literate as they use mostly WhatsApp in their share of information. They send pictures and information in a speedy manner. Young people looking after the buffalos may know how to use built-in programs in smart phones. We must not leave ourselves to be conservative in this matter.

I am calling all level officials to be literate in IT. If you ask for my opinion, you may want to do that by SMS. If you need to send me a document, you may do it with mail service. Remember at the time that the US was in full-scale war with Osama Bin Laden, a closed envelope with anthrax caused chaos. Built-in programs of IT in smart phones really help speed up our working process. That is what I wanted to say on this matter. We cannot afford to have only advanced machines while our human resource is not advanced./.