Selected Comments Samdech Moha Bovor Thipadei Hun Manet, to teachers/teaching staff on the “Thanking Teachers’ Day” – 05 October 2023 [Unofficial excerpts and translation of elaborative comments]


(1) Capacity and efforts of the “New Generation School” – reformed education program

[…] I am pleased to participate in the “Thanking Teachers’ Day”(TTD), October 05, 2023 under the theme – “Teachers are the pillars of school reform towards excellence” […] I previously visited the exhibition of results and achievements of students as well as our teachers of the New Generation School (NGS). I commend the Ministry for its ability and creative efforts to launch an education reform program. Although we have not yet implemented it in every school, at least the results of this NGS confirm the possibility of reform […] that what is written on paper is one thing, but what is achieved after the implementation and scoring results some years later (is another) […]

(2) Compilation of books creates research habits and ideas

The feat (of our students in compiling the books) is good. The realization of the books is one thing, but more importantly, it has revealed the motivation, interest, and collective writing of individuals and groups, which is the orientation that creates the mindset of research. The book itself is a result (of such effort and) is a tool for cultivating people. What we want to be sustainable is their habits and thinking, and research interest, and no plagiarism. In the past, when we did not have the sufficient resource, all we did was to copy from (the teachers’ prepared lessons and) memorize them. Now, you (nephews) know how to research and (make) new ideas. This is what we wanted. This is training […]

(3) Predicted and proactive on getting human resource ready

From 1993 to 2023, which has been 30 years of evolving changes in our human resources development efforts. As of present, even if they are not in higher education, but at 11th or 12th grade, students can create computer programs and even make robots. This is a positive development of education […] we have predicted and have been proactive knowing full well that science is what will rule the world and be competitive. We must not wait until everyone else has surpassed and acquired the best human resources, (or/and until) the need to develop industry is knocking our door to start inviting skilled workers from other countries. We have to train and get our human resource ready from 10 or 20 years ahead […]

(4) Teachers’ noble virtues and dedications produce human resources that build and develop the motherland

It is in this spirit that Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen initiated the idea of establishing the Thanking Teachers’ Day in Cambodia, setting October 5 every year to inspire culture and tradition so that students and youth commemorate the teachers’ noble virtues, sacrifices and dedications of body, mind, wisdom and spirit in training students […]. Their efforts have been helping produce human resources that build and develop the motherland of Cambodia […]

(5) The key measures in the field of education is to “think macro, act micro”

[…] All areas of reform in the pentagonal strategy have a mechanism for strengthening of education, a continuation from the rectangular strategy. Reform is not subject to change in one year. We (must ensure) sustainability […] we have five key measures to carry out – strengthen public functions, education, health, the fight against drugs and judicial reform and implementation […] (since) all in these tasks are included in the reform plan, why is it necessary to have more key measures in education. My theory is to say in English – “Think macro, act micro” or think in a comprehensively political framework, however, we choose the key area as basis for implementation. We must address the goal step-by-step. Otherwise, it would be too broad […]

(6) Strengthen education from kindergarten to grade 12, determine the ability, knowledge and behavior as a result

The same is true (in the field of) education, […] I think this is the time to (determine) which pillar (to) strengthen. I have said a lot since before the election […] we need to focus on strengthening education from kindergarten level to 12th grade. Should we succeed in strengthening basic education, our education sector will be strong. In saying so it does not mean the Royal Government does not care about strengthening higher education. We continue to do the same according to master plan, but the key measure taken into account is to strengthen the education sector from kindergarten to grade 12. What results do we want from education? (We want) capacity, knowledge and attitude. These have to come up together. As for behavior, we call it soft skill […]

(7) Orientation between general knowledge and vocational training

We focus on general knowledge, but for the time to come, we should consider the orientation between general knowledge and vocational training to meet (accordingly to the needs of the country). They have been doing this in every country. In this trend, sometimes (our children) do not need to finish the 12th grade requirement before gaining permission to go to (vocational) training. We may think about preparing them for exit from the ninth or tenth grade, especially those children in rural area […]

(8) Strengthen school management and leadership – working system and human resource

To strengthen governance (in education) means to strengthen school management and leadership […] has two major tasks. One would be the working system and another would be human resource […] as for human resource, the main actors are the school principal and teachers/teaching staff. The principal is responsible in leading and managing schools and serving as model example for teaching staff and students […]

The other day, I asked HE Sar Sokha (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior) to discuss with HE Hang Chuon Naron (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Youth and Sports) regarding how to decentralize appointment of school principals. We need to clarify to (district) governor the right to elect (principal). We do not take away his rights to do so, but there must be a mechanism for management, since each principal must implement a national plan on education and health […]

(9) Strengthening rather than expanding

(The Royal Government of) this term is determined to strengthen what it has realized so far rather than expanding further. We are working to expand what we already have in existence, especially focusing on state institutions. We are ascertaining effort to focus services provision at the local level. In Phnom Penh, we already have done a great deal. I just saw the results that we have scored but more need to strengthen to the grassroots and to the district […] (concerned stakeholder may need to make a thorough) selection of principals before making suggestion to me of what to do […]

(10) Brain gap easier to narrow than infrastructure gap

(Reducing) brain gaps are easier than closing infrastructural gaps […] the Cambodian children born in Ratanakkiri (northeastern province) are not intellectual disadvantageous to those children born in Phnom Penh (if) given the same opportunity and studied in the same class […] The Royal Government’s task is to create opportunities and orientate them – both teachers and students – to the right target and goal […]

In order for her/him the principal be able to lead the school, one interesting way is that we share successful school experiences and have this coaching team composing of experienced principals/teachers teach her/him. Our teaching staff/teachers may have the will to carry through, but sometimes sharing (experience is not available) […]

(11) Medals come from hard works are of value

We should think of Team Award. Giving an award is one thing but (most important of all) is the recognition of effort, which is bigger price than the budget. As far as the medals are concerned, they do not have to be the Grand Order of “national merit” to signify how valuable their efforts are. Whatever medal that comes from hard work, we must recognize it. The value of recognizing the effort is very important to encourage those who have worked hard and continue to strive […]

(12) Teachers are pillars in reforming schools towards excellence

Secondly, teachers, whose topic is “teachers are a pillar of school reform towards excellence” – are the main actors or direct practitioners in educating and determining the quality of education for students. Whereas teachers are of quality, qualification, and capacity, we are sure that students will acquire knowledge, virtue, and morality […] through the value that teachers set as an example to students. Therefore, it requires the guarantee of knowledge, virtue, and morality, which is possible through – firstly, thorough selection exam and secondly, training […]

(13) Higher scholarships for teacher trainees

(We are) think about the principle of living support […] when they passed the exams to become a teacher trainee (or pedagogical students) […] in 2023, we (have made a new calculation for scholarships provision for students of pedagogy by) taking the basic salary of the civil servants multiplied by 70%. I checked last night […] teacher trainee of level “A”, who earned 603,000 riels […] now will get up to more than 1.17 million. The teacher trainee level “B”, who left the regional pedagogical school to become a local teacher, earned 562,000 riels last year, now earns more than 1.1 million. Teacher trainee level “C” […] now earns 980,000, or almost 1 million Riel. That is not a salary. It is a scholarship. We invest in people, starting with teacher trainees […]

(14) Teachers to develop capacity regularly … do not be afraid to invest in people

(Thirdly) there must be regular development of teacher capacity. While we encourage students do research, teachers must do that too […] and we have to figure out how to reward their research time, writing time to help them more. Do not be afraid to invest in such work creation. Do not be afraid to invest in people to create results for the nation […]

Fourthly, the deployment of teachers is an important task for ensuring the quality of education. In this deployment, we need to think about incentive policies to ensure the livelihood and motivation of teachers […] sometimes it is not only about salaries, but about other things like career paths. Do we lack or have enough teachers? For the period of 2024-2025, I have given the principle to the public function to review the work and we do not have to follow the old recruitment plan. It is now time to have a break and reevaluate way to strengthen institutions, looking at roles and structures, and frameworks, whether there are more or less number of officials/staff than necessary. We ought to save budget from recruiting more and use that money to create incentive for those already in the payroll […]

It is also true for education. We are working on the deployment of 3,000 teachers recruited this year. I did not cancel the plan to recruit officials in 2023. I just prolong it a little […] and for some ministries and institutions, we put in a new mechanism. We have now proceeded to recruiting agricultural officials for the exam […]

I want to invest more in people. The school that has three floors, but there is no teaching time, and no qualified teachers, is hardly an education. If there are good teachers and programs that sufficiently encourage the teaching staff/teachers, they would be able to teach just anywhere. Originally, I remember in 1979, 1980, classes were under a tree, writing was with charcoal. At present, we do not have to do all that […]

(15) Slowdown spending on infrastructure to place money human investments

We could think of slowing down (spending on) infrastructure, including also some programs of the Ministry of Education and all ministries, because some programs are no longer relevant, (we would be able to save budget for this effort) […] projects that are not in dire need, let is cancel it. Take that money and turn it to something more important. Make the most of what we have. The day before, with a little adjustment to suspend spending on some trivial tasks, I saved more than 200 million dollars for 2023. Where did the US$ 200 million go? We have used it in increasing social protection and the floods prevention […] and this budget diversion does not affect the officials. It is just that we must suspend study of projects that are not yet necessary. We use that money to help the people and place them at the right target. Do not be concerned that doing so would make this or that person unhappy. I would say we all must dare to sacrifice for the common good […]

(16) Helping local teachers and local doctors in the interest of local people

I am leading the health sector because we need to strengthen local health care service. Should we want to improve infrastructure, it requires funding. If the Prime Minister is not involved in person, this effort could be stuck. If it is stuck, whom does it hurt? It affects our people. If the health center strives and are able (to finance itself), who will benefit? It is our people. If we fix it immediately, our people will get good results soon. We have laid out the six priority measures to strengthen social protection, help the poor, health care with our existing policies, (but they all) depend on the ability of local doctors to provide services to people […]

In Phnom Penh, it is not very much a problem. There are many private clinics, but we have to think of the people in the province. If we do not help local doctors, who do we help in order that they serve the health of the people. If we do not help teachers, who are we to help in order for them to help our students […]

(17) Turn students’ free time into useful time for their capacity and attitudes, and whereas benefits for teachers

Now we talk about the second program, which is to adjust and organize the curriculum, extracurricular activities in accordance with the knowledge, discipline, ethics requirements and student behavior […] we cannot only plan and set indicators, and let our teachers to implement. That is not going to work. There needs to be a mechanism to help them do that. The first reinforcement is to address the challenges facing the students. Apart from the model school, where we may lack buildings and time, students would have a lot of free time […] what we wanted to do was turn free time into useful time to increase student capacity and attitudes, whereas benefits for teachers. I believe that all parents think of their children […]

(18) Implementing nutrition program in 427 schools in ten provinces so far

Priority 3 is to focus on student health through nutrition programs for children, health, and important knowledge. We have invested a lot in education and health. The budget for these two ministries are very large. These are two priorities that I personally take under my wings to make sure they are firm pillars – people, health and human capacity. Human is the one who put together working system and the builders of the infrastructure. We have strong people, we have everything, and even better, it is sustainable […]

(As far as) health (is concerned), we have implemented nutrition programs to our schools since 2010. As of now, we are covering 427 schools, with more than 110,000 students in 10 provinces. We do not have many possibilities yet, but we have deployed some, and we can examine the possibility of further expansion according to the actual possibilities […]

(19) Parental, guardian and community participations encouraged

Fourthly, to encourage the participation of parents, guardians and the community in education in line with the slogan “State-Community Partnership for Education” […] Parents are very important, who are interacting with teachers. Teachers and parents foster capacity, ideal, and overall moral attitude. Teachers and parents, and the community have to trust each other […]

This is the second key measure that I put in place to strengthen the education sector from kindergarten to grade 12, which I set out in principle […] this mechanism is not the committee to work on behalf of the Ministry of Education. We will use existing mechanisms. This national mechanism is just an aid mechanism or call it technical assistance. When it comes to implementation, it is the mechanism of the Ministry of Education […]

The third point, the last point, apart from the four points, I am asking the Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Education to review tracking effort. Sometimes it is not necessary (to study) for 12 years […] for example, we are tracking to the ninth to tenth grade, there must be an option for some of our students who wanted to have technical skills in Robot without having to go to baccalaureate. S/he may study that subject and at the end, s/he earns a recognized degree […] At the very least, we help match between general knowledge and professional technical training. We help orient the children from the very beginning. It is not that we are giving orientation and they do not have the right to decide. It is for that matter that the involvement of parents in school and education is very important […]./.



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