Selected Comments Samdech Moha Bovor Thipadei Hun Manet, on the occasion of meeting with Grade-A students in the 2022-2023 school year [Unofficial Translation]

CMF:

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(1) The 9th traditional meeting between the Prime Minister and Grade-A students

I am very happy to meet all the 1,691 Grade-A students. This is the first time for me to meet with the students (who passed the Baccalaureate with) grade A, but this is the ninth time in the tradition of such meeting between the Prime Minister and the Grade-A students. This culture was started by Samdech Techo, the former Prime Minister, in 2014 […] with the exception of one year in 2020, when there were no A or E grades, due to the Covid-19 […] in his capacity as the Prime Minister, Samdech Techo made the decision to let all of them passed […] and the year that followed, even though there were requests to let the (Baccalaureate students) pass again, Samdech Techo advised to organize the exams […]

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(4) Progress and sustainability of the reformed high school diploma examination based on the principle of “one leant, one passed”

It is not just those nephews who passed with grade A, I am sending my congratulatory message to all 72.89% of the total candidates who passed the exams. This achievement demonstrates the progress and sustainability of the reformed high school diploma examination, which is based on the principle of “one passed, should one learn”. Nearly 10 years since the beginning (of such reformed examination) in 2014, when there were only 11 Grade-A students. Today, we have nearly 1,700 grade-A students. It means that this system of (reformed examination) works […] and the whole society, the whole people support and accept this reform as a new culture of examination […]

(6) Passing the Baccalaureate is arriving at the crossroads both in learning and in life

[…] Whether you have an A grade, a B grade, a C grade, or have not passed the exam, please be aware that your road ahead is still a long one. Having passed the Baccalaureate is like arriving at the crossroads both in learning and in life. Most of those who passed the Baccalaureate, which we had to go through junior and senior secondary schools for 12 years, learn according to the standards set by the Ministry of Education (Youth and Sports) […] but at this stage, you have to decide which way to go forwards. According to the law, similar to that age, you have come to the age that you can decide for yourselves and no longer have guardians. This is an important crossroads […]

(7) Five actors encourage and motivate reform, change attitude and trust in the examination system

Congratulations on the contribution of the acters in making the students achieve (excellent) results. Firstly, it is the students themselves, who are the main acters in determining, studying hard and thorough in their works to get (to the best scores) […]; secondly, it is the teachers […] since there are two kinds of training – one in schools, and another at home, in some countries by their parents […]; the third acters are the parents. If there is no encouragement or conditions for you to learn hard, it would be difficult for the students to achieve this result […]; the fourth acter is the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, the capital/provincial authorities, departments of education, youth and sports, relevant authorities, school management, and competent authorities responsible for promoting good education, as well as participating in conducting accurate and fair examinations. That would also include the additional participation of the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia and the Anti-corruption Unit, and other institutions and volunteers at the venue (of examination), which makes our exam accurate, and ensure that those who really have learnt have passed […]; and fifthly, it is the mass […] the support of the mass, the support of the people, to strive and encourage this reform has made it a movement that, I’d say, changes the mindset of the examinees and the trust in the exam taking system […]

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(9) What is education for? What kind of environment is needed?

The first-phase pentagonal strategy, as well as the previous rectangular strategies, we take people as the principle, building human capital is the main work. For the Royal Government, to build human capital, especially in education, must answer to two questions. The first question is what is education for? What kind of human resources do we want? The second question is, what kind of environment do we create so that the human resources we strive to build have the opportunity to grow and be used to their full potential and encourage people to continue to build good capital for the nation? […]

For the first question as to why we educate? Yesterday I saw on a social media […] there is an expression of opinion that is education just for a high salary job? […] is this the only purpose of education? Indeed, improving the lives of the people is a big goal. Increasing the capacity of children and youth for them to be able to acquire skills to increase productivity and be able to find a good career, increase income or work or create their own career according to their own ability to improve family life (are the main goal) […]

(10) Four major goals or pillars of human education

[…] Teachers may have known already of the goal of education […] the four pillars or four goals to educate people as good citizens – (1) provide education so that the person knows. Acquiring knowledge to understand the surrounding and can make decisions from all angles. (2) to learn know-how to create skills to get a real job. (3) learn to be a good citizen with good morals, and (4) acquire education, knowledge and know-how to be able to live in a harmonious society (or the collective knowledge). The goal of education is not just hard skills but also soft skills. Not only knowledge, work experience, but also behavioral education. This is the goal of education called the four pillars of education […]

(13) Examination based on meritocracy, fair and inclusive competition environment

Regarding the second question how do we strive to train human resources well and to ensure that human resource can make use of their potential to grow and become stronger? […] the perspectives on exam reform is a good lesson that we can use as a beacon or a model for building a social environment […] what about the exam environment or the experience of this corner? (1) successful and sustainable exams bring about changes in culture and mindset […] taking exams based on the principles of meritocracy, fair and inclusive competition environment, in which the ones who work hard gets the better score, or the higher the score […];

(2) the exams (in which one achieved result through actual ability/knowledge) have replaced some of the negative cultures or attitudes that have existed before […] the culture of intervention has been replaced by a culture of responsible individuals […] the culture of taking the exam (according to own ability) is that each family, each parent, each student participates in the effort that failing or passing is own (responsibility). Therefore, they stopped seeking for intervention and turning to encourage hard work. This is a culture that we need to promote […] and a culture that reforms in the Baccalaureate exam taking have created […]

(3) replacing the narrow emotional base with the broadest emotional one. When I was a member of the officer examination committee, there used to be remarks why it was so strict and not emotional at all. I replied that it is not that I was not emotional, but it is on the contrary […] anyone, s/he does not need to know me, as long as they are knowledgeable, they will pass the exam […]

(4) instead of placing trust in others or outsiders to provide “brouillon” (draft), the students turned to trusting in their own abilities […] this rigorous and collaborative exam creates a culture and mindset of self-confidence. Trust what is outside and not from outside […] ensure a sustainable environment and fair competition, enabling those with ability to work hard (and to get good scores) […]

(18) Successful education reform requires four major factors

For successful reform, four major factors are needed. Firstly, there must be a long-term vision based on the clear interests of the nation and the people, […] which is to set a long-term vision to promote meritocracy and encourage the efforts of the people, especially the nephews/nieces who are “the diamonds” essential for building our society for long-term growth […]

Secondly, it is the high commitment of all actors, especially the leaders who have a high will in the reform. Samdech Techo, the former Prime Minister, has given definitive support and all the possibilities to reforming the examination; and HE Akka Bundit Sopheachar, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, whom I have heard from the beginning, (has done his excellent job) […]

The reform starting from the 2014 Baccalaureate exam is not a revolution, but a refinement and consolidation for further achievements. The previous generation of leaders of the Ministry of Education (Youth and Sports) have done their jobs and we are expanding the achievements that for the national interest […] we need to create an environment for all to have confidence in. The simple word is to ensure equality. If it is available, it has to be available to all. If it is not available, it is not to all […], then, we need the high commitment of the implementation officials. Officials from the Ministry of Education, the Department of Education, the Office of Education, schools, teachers, and participants in supporting the practice exams have been consistent. If the policy is not implemented by an honest and decisive operator in practice, it will not be successful […]

Thirdly, the participation of all parties, especially the people, families, parents and guardians of the students themselves, the public, […]; and fourthly, the sacrifice for the common good. Replacing some of the older cultures that I am talking about with new cultures and new perspectives regarding this exam is a sacrifice. Without this sacrifice, we cannot reform […]

(17) The core of the Rectangular Strategy and the Pentagonal Strategy is governance

The policy of the Royal Government since the Rectangular Strategy, and now the pentagonal strategy, is the strengthening of the nation, and the core of the Rectangular Strategy and the Pentagonal Strategy is governance, which is a very important element. In society, not only the government, there is the private sector, civil society, ordinary people, but we need to start promoting this culture in government institutions […]

The first phase pentagonal strategy is no different from the reform prongs in rectangular strategy. At the core is the reform and strengthening of governance and the modernization of state institutions to become modern public administrations with high capacity, intelligence and fitness […] so that the trained human resources become sufficiently capable to promote and develop the society […]

(18) Three key measures to reform and increase the efficiency of public administration

Keys on public administration reform and optimization consist of three measures. The first is related to the recruitment of new officials, which we have already implemented, with the first recruitment of 250 agricultural officials, from nearly 10,000 people applicants […] I have not seen any complaints till now. From the 10,000 applicants, we recruited only 250 people, there must be winners and losers […] but those who failed must have known that their best has not been good enough and the exam was conducted in a meritocracy manner […]

Secondly, the internal reforms of ministries and institutions’ existing mechanisms, combined with the use of existing officials to increase efficiency and provide opportunities in training and strengthening, as well as in (acquiring) more effective “trained diamonds” […]

Thirdly, regular checking and evaluation must be carried out regularly. We have done a lot in the previous administrations, but it is time now for us to move forward as we grow older, and not stay in one place […]

We need to believe in ourselves that if we have a clear vision based on nationalism, high commitment, participation from all parties and a commitment to sacrifice for the common good (no matter how difficult) we can overcome and adjust to sustainability of our reforms […]

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(19) Whatever knowledge or knowhow – learn to be the best

It is normal that nephews/nieces are making decision at this crossroads […] one may ask which skill is better than which? There are no bad skills. It depends on what one wants, by what direction. It depends on yourselves, whatever you learn, try to learn it to be sure that it is worth and you want it. Do not just learn the best skills, but you cannot fathom it […] you just study it because society needs it. Whatever you know/learn, you must know/learn it well to develop yourselves […] (In Khmer we say) a degree with certification (approved by scholar) and a degree from (actual performance/) seeing – both must go hand in hand. Degrees (from learning/certification) open the door for you to enter, but the (decree from performance/) seeing is what helps you to climb the stairs to a higher level in an environment that enables the ability to grow […] it is not sure that skills that many people learn, such as management or IT, are better than any other skills. Whatever it is, learn to be the best […]./.

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