Deputy Director General，Directorate General of Higher Education，Ministry of Education，Youth and Sport，the Kingdomof Cambodia
“At the East Asia Summit Higher Education Cooperation Forum:Cooperation and Development of Higher Education within EAS Framework”
Kunming，Yunnan Province，P.R.China，13-15 October 2010
Ladies and Gentlemen，
I amgreatly delighted and honored to attend the East Asia Summit Higher Education Cooperation Forum held here in Kunming，Yunnan Province，the People's Republic of China，which is jointly hosted by the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China and the People's Government of Yunnan Province.On behalf of the Ministry of Education，Youth and Sportof the Kingdomof Cambodia，I would like to expressmy sincere appreciation to the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China and the People'sGovernment of Yunnan Province for their kind support and warmhospitality extended to the Cambodian delegation.I would also like to expressmy deepest thanks to Yunnan Provincial Department of Education and Yunnan University for jointly organizing this important Forum.Their excellent arrangements for this Forum have significantly contributed to the productivity of this important event.
This Forumindeed provides all of us fromhigher education sub-sector in East Asia a great opportunity to share and exchange dialogues and experiencesto explore development options for education sector，particularly higher education.I think this is a truly proud and memorable gathering，showing that our region is on the accelerated path of building competent and talented human resources to accelerate the pace of socio-economic development.
In this connection，the Royal Government of Cambodia recognizes that regional and global activities in education development are an important mechanismfor sharing experiences and learning lessons abouteducation reform，especially higher education.This is particularly critical for Cambodia as we try to move quickly to restore，develop and modernize our education system.
As you might already knowCambodia is a post conflict nation，having experienced great tragedy that has led to a reduced human capacity.After great hardships，the Royal Government of Cambodia is dedicated to developing its human resources in order to reconstruct the country and integrate with the regional and global community of nations.With the selfless commitmentand great wisdomof Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen，Prime Minister of the Kingdomof Cambodia，the hard-found peace in Cambodia was finally secured in late 1998 and the impact of the subsequent capacity development between the years 2000-2009 has been very significant.Cambodian people currently are living in peace，stability and national unity，enjoying full rights，freedomand democracy.
In this sense，I would like to stress that the Royal Government of Cambodia has given great importance to the education and skills development sector to accommodate Cambodia into the regional and global labour market.As a result，the Royal Government has identified human resource development as one of its priorities and as an important agenda in the Rectangular Strategy and in the National Strategic Development Plan.
Guided by the mentioned national strategies，the Ministry of Education，Youth and Sport has formulated a five year plan，the Education Strategic Planto enable the implementation of education reform.Our aimis to ensure that all Cambodian citizens have equal access to quality education regardless of their gender，where they live，or the wealth or poverty of their parents.That is the key to building a knowledge-based society that will ensure Cambodia's competitiveness in integrating herself into the region and the world.
Excellencies，Distinguished Delegates，Ladies and gentlemen，Quality of Education is one of the major concerns for our Ministry as we live in a world of knowledge and information technology which includes skills，know-how，innovation and creativity of human resources.Up to now，the education sector has proudly developed in terms of both quantity and quality with the support and assistance fromthe Royal Government and national and international communities and donors.
Since Cambodia became a fullmember of the Association ofSoutheast Asian Nations in 1999，it has actively participated in regional cooperation on higher education especially in the SEAMEOand AUN contexts.At the same time，Cambodia，as a less developed country，also benefits fromregional cooperation in developing its education systemas well as building its human capital through scholarship programs and other important contributions fromthe countries in the region.In this connection，I highly appreciate the collaboration between the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Governments of the EAS countries that have led to these important educational developments in Cambodia，particularly the support to human resource development through the provision of scholarships to Cambodian students for further study in their countries.
In this regard，Cambodia considers cooperation on higher education within EAS countries as a crucialmeans of cultivating awareness of one another's developments.That is a significant means of promoting regional competitiveness and development.So，the Forumtoday is a symbolic and timely starting point to this cooperation with many important steps to be followed before its process iscompletely fulfilled.On this occasion，I would like share with all of you what we should do to further promote and strengthen regional awareness，competitiveness and development.
* Disparity within the region should be reduced through academic exchange and cooperation，research collaboration，and scholarship programs.
* Higher education quality within the region should be enhanced through creating harmonization of quality assurance and credit transfer systems，and qual ification frameworks.That way we can draw on and benefit fromeach other's experiences.
* Seminar，workshop or training should be regularly organized to share best practices and other initiatives on contemporary educational issues.This is important in all levels of education，butwe see major opportunities at the higher education level in terms of research and development.
Lastly，I believe such exchangeswill ensure a healthy balance between cooperation and competitiveness.Such exchanges will also provide a focus on cooperation that benefits the majority rather than a few.I amconfident that the EAS Higher Education Cooperation Forumhas further strengthened the friendships，academic linkages and networking locally and regionally.Those connections will lead directly to an improving quality of higher education in the region，and promote further regional economic development as well as talent and skills cultivation.