Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen, at the handing over of diplomas to students, teaching staffs, and educators at the National Institute of Education [Unofficial Translation]


(1) Collect and retrain teachers for the school year of 1979/80

[…] Compared to before, we have come a long way. The starting point was that we relaunched the school year 1979-1980. At that time, we gathered the remaining teachers from the killing (by the Khmer Rouge Democratic Kampuchea regime) and selected those who were able to teach, to do the retraining, and send them to teach. This National Institute of Education (NIE) has always been a place for training and retraining of teachers since then, and moreover, it has done teachers training/retraining jobs for a long time. Since my house is close by, I had in the past been in charge of lecturing political introduction to the teachers who came for retraining here. Sometimes I could not finish my lecture during the day, and we continued to do it at night. There was no electricity like we do today. We had a small generator whose sound got into our class. Sometimes the engine operator forgot to refuel […]

(2) There are now three levels of teacher training: national, sub-national, and regional

At that time, the teachers we chose did not have pedagogical skills in teaching. Although we had brought them in for short-term training, most of the rural teachers’ knowledge were slightly above those of their students […] through our efforts, an education system has been put in place to train and retrain teachers. There are now three levels of teacher training. At the national level, we have the National Institute of Education here. At the sub-national level, we have the regional level, where teachers will receive training in the 12 (years) plus 1 (year of pedagogical training) […] and in addition, we have the provincial pedagogical schools for teachers training as well. All the three levels (of teachers training/retraining facilities), each year release a large number of teachers. The national level turned out not many, but the regional and provincial levels do a large number. Otherwise, we cannot respond with student growth. Now, most of the former teachers from 1979-1980, or 80s, are retired and replaced by new teachers, whom we trained in an orderly manner […]

(3) Previously, the community provides for construction of schools

[…] If we look back at the time when Cambodia was under the French, even I was not born yet, and under the Sangkum Reastr Niyum era, we used the combination of the state and the people’s efforts as a method to allow for a good expansion of education. The government at that time provided only teachers, and there could be a small amount of school construction. However, most often than not, especially primary schools in villages/communes, the community did everything […] in the wartime, we do not need to say. There were only a few schools in some towns or cities occupied by the Lon Nol regime […] and under the Pol Pot regime, schools were destroyed. We rehabilitated schools and education after the fall of genocidal regime of Pol Pot […] some of our students studied under the Buddhist monks’ wooden tilted residences where there were no monks then. Some studied under tilted houses as there were not many schools opened yet […]

(4) Tell foreigners who like to discipline Cambodia – “do not make the third mistake”

Our country (at that time) was under sanction. For this, I had to go back. I always told foreigners who like to discipline Cambodia – “please! do not make the third mistake” (on Cambodia) […] the first mistake you made was, while claiming to be a democracy, supporting the Lon Nol’s military coup to overthrow Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk and plunged my country at war […] what does that mean? Democracy is up to your mouth […] the second mistake you did was supporting the Khmer Rouge at the United Nations from 1979-1991, beknowing that the Khmer Rouge killed the people. Why you supported the Khmer Rouge at the United Nations? (Based on these testimonies) I have always warned them not to make a third mistake on our country […]

(5) Never apologize or regret supporting the coup and the support the DK in the UN

The so-called sanctioned country is that no development aid is provided. They can provide primary aid in the form of food, medicine, but not development assistance such as books, chalk, study materials […] however, the fact has proven that their punishment was ineffective, and cannot stop the efforts of the Cambodian people, who have escaped the killing regime […] witnessing their mistakes, they never apologize or even express regret for supporting the Lon Nol in the coup or for supporting the Khmer Rouge at the United Nations. They just do not say it. No matter what they do to entice Cambodians to forget, the Cambodian people will not easily. Well, what we earnt easily could easily lose. What we earnt with difficulties we try very hard to protect it […]

(6) Cambodia has a population growth of more than 300,000 per year

Some old schools are even more difficult to repair. We have to build new ones […] (those schools I built initially have been) in use for for more than 20 years […] now those schools are in gradual damages and we need to replace them with new buildings with higher quality for the sake of keeping our students and teachers in good health […] along with efforts to replace old and dilapidated school buildings, let us not forget that we have an additional population of more than 300,000/year. The 300,000 figure is calculated based on the total population of only 16 million, whereas the Worldometer website at the time of Covid-19, put the figure at more than 17 million people […] in 1979, we had a population of around 5 million, and Laos had 5 million too. Now that Laos has recorded its population to over 7 million people, we have 17 million […]

(7) The Santuk Statement 2002 – one secondary school at least for a commune

Increasing population requires more schools. Nowadays, schools are looking for students, not students looking for schools like in the past. I used to talk about the fact that when I was 13, I had to leave my parents to find a school (in the city). Now there is no need to do that. The 2002 statement that I declared that a commune must have a secondary school […] has now reached the stage where one commune should have at least one secondary school […] as a result, school dropout rates are declining […] I hope that the teachers (will work harder to learn) to ensure that their status will change (from teaching at the primary level to secondary and higher levels), as in the case of the two teachers (whom I met) outside […] We will need to invest more in building schools and school buildings, and building teachers’ homes/hostels. In this way, with money given for their functions as teachers, we can attract teachers because we have a house for them to stay […]

(8) Having been in the government without interruption – winning three records

[…] For the (communal) election in 2027, I could be thinking of running for commune chief once […] I wanted to try it out for a few months before resigning […] I want to try it when I leave the post of Prime Minister. It could be a possibility for me to run for commune head position. I can give it a try for 4 to 5 months to see how the commune chief and clerks work? What complaints could there be? […] I have been in power in the government without interruption from January 8, 1979 until now […] from the Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Prime Minister. More than 38 years as Prime Minister, plus 44 years as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister. There has not been such a case in the world. I won three records. The first record is the youngest foreign minister in the world. The second record is the youngest prime minister in the world. The third record is the longest-serving prime minister in the world. Those who wanted to be the Prime Ministers are felling tight chest […]

(9) From the age of 25, serving only the people, not believing in politicians

[…] When I retired in politics, I will give talks […] students or politicians, researchers (can ask me questions like) how do you do it […] I started my political career as a leader from the age of 25. From the age of 18 to the age of 25 is the stage when I served as a soldier. From the age of 25, I was determined not to listen to anyone but the people, whom I could serve. Other than that, I do not believe in any politicians. While the country was in peace, they launched a coup d’etat. I joined them in the (struggle, when they had victory,) they killed the people […] (I did) start withdrawing myself. I have never made anyone my boss. No one can come and pretend to be Hun Sen’s boss. From June 20, 1977 until now, no one came and claimed to be Hun Sen’s boss. Hun Sen is otherwise the boss is more like it. You may ask Samdech Men Sam An [..]

(10) Will teach three theories to CPP officials to analyze the situation

[…] Given the observation that the analytical skills of some officials seem to be weak, I am thinking that in the future the CPP may organize training courses […] for which I will teach myself three basic theories used in analyzing situation. Firstly, the dialectical materialism, […] secondly, the historical materialism, […] and thirdly, the leadership and working methodologies that I wrote in 1983, and that I taught senior officials […] it is like learning the diagnosis by a doctor – if the analysis of the disease is not correct, how can you give the patients correct medicine? The case of politicians is the same – wrong analysis, wrong measures […]

I use three methods for analysis. The first method is dialectical materialism. The second method is historical perspective, and the third method is based on logic. Combined these three together, Hun Sen rarely evaluates the situation wrong. I am not bragging, but the party respects my assessment of the situation. You all know that when the assessment is wrong, the wrong measures are taken. Let us compare it with doctors. For malaria, with wrong diagnosis, a medical person prescribes something for stomach ache, that would be a fatal decision […] I saw the weakness of the opposition, their weakness of analyzing and evaluation the internal situation of the CPP. They were never right. That’s why I told my colleagues to let them misjudge us […]

(11) Bouyoung provides funding to buy 1,000 buses and builds a health university

[…] President of the Bouyoung Company […] handed over 200 buses to Phnom Penh Capital Hall. Seeing the effectiveness of the buses he provided us in transporting people during the Khmer New Year […] he met with me and asked to provide 1,000 more buses […] he would like to hand over the money to Cambodia to order the buses […] in his own words – he will not to take the return on investment from Cambodia (to Korea) but keep it here to help expand jobs availability and help the social works of the Cambodians. Is it not a good thing? Yesterday, he also proposed to build here a university of health science […]

(12) Budget allocation for education includes salaries, school and dormitory buildings

[…] The annual budget allocation for the education sector is not just for issues related to salary increases. I mean we have to focus on schools building in places of dilapidated buildings. On the one hand, we have to build more new schools and buildings to meet the growing needs of students, and on the other hand, the homes of teachers and students. I am calling on all stakeholders to participate in this process. I want to see Cambodia having good schools […] in the era of the state of Cambodia, our government officials received nine items ranging from salt, fish sauce, rice, soap to kerosene among other things. That was the generation that we had no electricity but kerosene lamps, if we reminisce about teaching at that time. One teacher I asked just now has a salary of up to 1.87 million (Riel) […]

(13) Equitable economic growth through investments in education, health, and infrastructures

The past […] has taught us many lessons […] strengthened Cambodia’s human resource capacity building efforts. Do not let Cambodia be as unfortunate as when I was 13 years old, and had to leave my parents (seeking education) […] it is in this regard that at the stage where I was able to lead the country, I tried to work in the field of education and bring its access to the grassroots with infrastructure. Connectivity – good roads and safety makes it easier for students to get to school. As a policy framework, to share the fruits of equitable economic growth we must invest in education, health, and invest in what the people need such as roads/bridges […]

(14) Spending US$ 7million on food/accommodation for SEA Games athletes

Some criticized us from abroad that while we have money, and people cannot earn money, why we do not charge money from the athletes to compete in the SEA Games event (this year held in Cambodia). You abroad think the way you do. I think the way I do. With only 10 days left, the SEA Games will start and this time everything (for athletes and coaches are going to be) free. Look, that Cambodia has to spend about US$ 7million more on accommodation and food for foreign players and coaches, with their fans coming to visit Cambodia, what benefits will Cambodia get. If we collect the fees, it does not make Cambodia any richer. If we do not collect the fee, we give a lot of people the opportunity to come to Cambodia and get to know Cambodia […]./.