Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen, at the Meeting with 1,049 A-Mention Students for the 2021-2022 School Year [Unofficial Translation]


(1) Nearly 10 years of high school exam reforms have changed attitudes across the country

[…] I am very pleased to hear the report of His Excellency Dr. Hang Chuon Naron, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports on the progress of our education, in general and in particular, in relation to the high school exam, also known as the Baccalaureate exam. This (exam) reform, which began almost 10 years ago, held in the first year of His Excellency Hang Chuon Naron’s tenure as Minister, has changed the general attitude. What is a change in attitude? It is the creation of the effort of the students themselves, because only with knowledge they will pass. This has ended the culture of intervening and trafficking in (exam) materials (to the exam class). Interventions have now been replaced with parents’ encouragement for their children to study hard. This is a big change […]

(2) The CPP Mass Organizations – the Youth and the Women’s Movements – Help Mobilize the Exam Reform Efforts

To meet the Prime Minister today is just (a way to acknowledge their efforts with) honor […] the whole society has (in fact) changed. The Deputy Prime Ministers, the Ministers, the Secretaries of State, all those who have worked at the local level have acknowledged their hard works. Our mass organizations, especially the Cambodian People’s Party Youth Movement, the Women’s Movement, […] have pushed this (exam reform efforts) a lot […] we see progress and the advantage of this reform, which has now become a good national movement, especially the change in attitudes in the family […] that they are no longer dependent on the culture of intervention, and turned to encourage their children to study hard and help provide them with more teaching assistance […] the point is that we should be encouraging to ensure that this movement is not going backwards, and it is moving forward.

(3) Students who do not pass the exam have 3 options

Nowadays, there are many options for grandchildren do not pass the exam […] the first option is that those grandchildren repeat the class and continue to take the exam next year. Option 2, those grandchildren can go to study for an associate’s degree, and when it is time for the high school exam, (they can) return to the exam (again). Another option (is) to go to a vocational training school that will give grandchildren the opportunity to gain vocational skills to use for the development of the country as well as their own business. While in the vocational school, they are still able to return to the exam. Hopefully, the grandchildren will not give up all the efforts and they have to continue as there is still a long way to go. They are now only 17-18 years old or under 20 years old, it is not too late for them to go on with their studies options […]

(4) Do not overlook the peace factor/youth in the past lost the opportunity to study

The peace factor is something that cannot be overlooked. Any success gained should not overlook peace, education, sports, or the arts, and anything at all cannot live with war. It can only live with peace. Those old people on the podium (used to) go through stages of war-torn country. On this note, the youth of the past lost almost every chance, and under the Pol Pot era, their chance was completely gone. From 1970-75, the loss of opportunities (was) large, but there were still some towns/cities occupied by the Khmer Republic where there were still some schoolings. Whereas in the liberated zones, schools were closed. Youth/children were deprived of the opportunity to study. Even in the city, students/youth were forced to join the army to go to war. They also lost the opportunity to study. Furthermore, under the Pol Pot regime, we all not only lost the opportunity to study but also suffered numerous deaths.

(5) If the Khmer Rouge did not commit crimes against humanity, there would not be prosecution against them

You may not believe what I am saying but you can ask your grandparents’ grandparents’ parents – but I doubt if your parents were not born later than the Pol Pot generation, some may be born early – as to what they could remember about the Pol Pot era? It is like no one can hide the sun with their palms. The Pol Pot regime was tried by a hybrid court of the United Nations and Cambodia, with Khieu Samphan’s as the last verdict. If the Khmer Rouge did not commit atrocities/genocide as a crime against humanity, was it necessary to prosecute the Khmer Rouge? This is also a reflection of the causes that caused harms to our people […]

(6) Standard schools of about US$ 400 million help with Covid-19 patients

After 1979, we worked hard to restore education. Even though we had been able to launch some schools, teachers and students were still threatened by war in certain areas. As of now, Cambodia is no longer divided into several control areas. We now are one Cambodia with one control area […] we see that there are now good high schools in the former battlefield areas. During the more than 6,000 kilometers of my travels to the provinces, I offered building new standard schools, at a total cost of about 400 million USD, which were then used to accommodate Covid-19 patients as at that time schools were closed temporarily, […] we have deployed more schools and new school-related construction through the national budget and through philanthropists funding […]

(7) Phnom Penh Capital Hall and the Ministry of Education find a place to build more dormitories

I would request HE Khuong Sreng of the Phnom Penh Municipality to check more where we can build another dormitory. Although it may be a bit far […] because soon we have to accept foreign students, as well as students in the country. I would like to ask Phnom Penh Capital Hall to look into the possibility of using some land to build a dormitory for poor students, especially female students. I want another 200-300 beds for our students […] because the problem now is related to our lack of accommodation. Male students can go to the Buddhist pagodas, but female students cannot go there for lodgments […] may the Capital Hall (of Phnom Penh) with the Ministry of Education and Sports, study available possibilities together and we already have land there. We can make use of the land and start the dormitory project right away. We can do it a little bit a year […] so that we can increase the number of our female students, and welcome foreign students who come to study […]

(8) Imbalance of education needs – student growing number and shortage of schools and teachers are reduced

Previously, we had an imbalance in the need for education where there were shortages of schools and teachers (comparing to the growing number of students). Now this imbalance has been reduced and the number of schools has reached out to students at the grassroots level. The number of high schools in the districts is also increasing. In Takeo province, there is a district where Mr. Chan Sarun (former Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries) worked (on behalf of the Cambodian People’s Party), Tram Kak district, there are up to ten high schools. In the 2004 Proclamation at Santuk district (of Kompong Thom), I declared at the time, “A commune should have a secondary school.” However, we now have used the term “at least one secondary school in a commune.” This means that in a commune there can have more than one secondary school. That is the relentless strengthening of the promotion of human resource training, which is a priority of our policy.

(9) We are presently at the stage of budgeting linked to policy

For public financial reform, we are in the budgeting linked to policy phase. In the next few days, I will announce a public financial management reform program or what we called “marching on with reform”. It is very effective that we are budgeting in linkage to policy. That we are laying out objectives for education, relating to human resource training, we must increase (budget) to this sector. Driving the movement forward. We cannot place education as a priority, but the budget is so small that it does not meet the needs of the education sector. We must continue to work together […]

(10) To host the SEA Games and to organize Angkor Sankranti (Khmer New Year) responsibly

This year, Cambodia will host the SEA Games. Today, we are 92 days until the SEA Games. Our country must work hard to host with responsibility and safety (the events) for our players (and) of the participating countries, and all the fans, while they are in the Kingdom Cambodia. Phnom Penh is the largest venue of the competition, but there are also a few other provinces with competitions – Sihanoukville, Kep, Kampot, and Siem Reap. Be well prepared as a responsible hosting. This year, along with the SEA Games, we also are celebrating the Angkor Sankranti. Everywhere celebrates Sangkanti. We will have Sankrant Tbong Khmum, Sangkant Kampong Cham, Sangkant Takeo, Sangkant Svay Rieng, Sangkant Prey Veng in addition to the main sangkant event in Siem Reap’s Angkor Wat. This year, our people will have more opportunities to hang out […]

(11) 1.5 million youth of poor/at-risk families to train at state vocational institutions

In connection with this vocational training issue, the Royal Government will organize the training for up to 1.5 million young people, for which training not only that they are free of charge for students, but the Royal Government will also give the students a salary for their education efforts. I wrote my instruction down on the request of Lok Chumteav Pheung Sakona (Minister of Culture and Fine Arts) and sent it to HE Aun Porn Moniroth (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance), my cabinet, […] and (Labor Minister) Ith Sam Heng that we will reserve 2% to 4% of these 1.5 million training opportunities for the so-called ancestral professions […] so far managed by at the school under the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts – sculpture, pottery, painting or whatever … lest it disappear.

(12) The current government to attend 42nd and 43rd ASEAN Summits

I have already confirmed that before hosting the SEA Games, there will be Angkor Sankranta/Khmer New Year. According to the preparations, the ASEAN Summit will be from 9 to 11 May (2023) in Jakarta. The day we open (SEA Games) requires my presence is on 05 (May 2023). It does not overlap […] I open (SEA Games) and then leave for the ASEAN summit in Jakarta. I will go for the closing of the SEA Games on my return from Jakarta. The 43rd Summit will be on September 4-7, 2023. It is obvious that (the current Royal) government will attend the summit after the election […] July 23 (2023). The formation of the (Royal) Government (in) estimation (will be in) mid-September or a little later, because at least 60 days later, the National Assembly will convene under the chairmanship of HM the King. Well, according to this, the present government will have to attend both ASEAN Summits […]

(13) Many tourists to come to Cambodia, Overseas Cambodians to visit the country

I have to participate in the opening and closing events of SEA Games. Will stay tuned and be watching online. Through Angkor Sankranti and through the SEA Games, there will be more tourists coming to Cambodia. Now the number starts to increase gradually. Last year, we received 2,200,000 tourists. This year, it is expected that (the number of tourists arrivals) will increase to between 3-4 million people. I would also like to take this opportunity to invite Cambodians living abroad to visit Cambodia to see for themselves the progress of their country through the New Year in Cambodia, either by attending Angkor Sankranti in Siem Reap or any other places at their free will, and come and watch the SEA Games. I urge you to visit the country so that you are not deceived by the unfortunate propaganda of those who want to distort the situation […]

(14) Cambodia – the country of Cambodians

I should also talk about this. I am very surprised that some of our Cambodians (abroad) – because they used to support the opposition party, used to insult the Royal Government on Facebook – are worried and dare not to visit the country. The day before, I met Mrs. Hem Chantha […] she was afraid to come (visit Cambodia) because she had insulted the (Royal) government […] I would like to take this opportunity to prove that this country is Cambodia, and it belongs to every Cambodians. Only the person who have the court order to arrest (may have that sort of feeling). Even though s/he has insulted the (Royal) government, but there is no complaint to the court, s/he has no problem […] some of the Cambodians abroad are confused that if they support the opposition, they do not stand a chance to enter Cambodia. It is not a matter. Please come. Even those who have arrest warrants, if they want to be arrested, it is not wrong top come because they have the right to do so […] a little war of words is not a topic of finding false for a lifetime. For myself/the CPP, even the Khmer Rouge who fought with us life and death, we can find a way to live and work together […]


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