Monday, July 6, 2009

Education Minister Warns Officials Against Irregularities


The Ministry of Education Youth and Sport (MoEYS) has announced that high-ranking officials have been involved in irregular activities, using their positions to make money via replacement of students, teachers and Ministry officers across the country.

Im Sethy, Minister for Education Youth and Sport, said that in recent years, many education officials have been involved with these practices. He said these activities could only have a negative effect on the Ministry’s reputation and honor and would inevitably lead to ugly accusations of corruption.

“I have noted that many senior ministry officials receive money from teachers or education officers to expedite their replacement or transfer to another position. This activity constitutes an offense and it has called the honor of the Ministry into question. Therefore, I appeal to all officials to avoid involvement in this business; there is no place for it in a reformed education system. These are public funds for our Ministry and they are not to be exploited for private gain,” he said during opening remarks delivered to an education reform workshop on July 2 in Phnom Penh.

The Minister pointed out that in recent years, schoolmasters and education officials have been involved in the sale of lands earmarked for schools, renovations and new school sites being shifted to alternative locations for the sake of appearances.

He called on school directors and governing committees to stop selling state property and work closely with his ministry. If a school must be relocated, then official reports are to be sent to the Ministry seeking permission.

Referring to education reform, Im Sethy said that, based on the recommendation of the Prime Minister on December 3, 2008, MoEYS is reforming the administrative and financial management of schools to strengthen the ministry’s oversight and to enhance the quality of education in Cambodia.

Minister Im Sethy said that in phase II of the Rectangular Strategy, the Royal Government of Cambodia focused on reform of public finance and administrative management. In line with this decree, MoEYS will reform its budgeting accountability and tighten education management and administration.

“In this, the second phase of the Rectangular Strategy, the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport will promote financial accountability and make public demonstrations of our ability to manage our finances. We have created a financial strategy and budget program that is geared to the promotion of the efficient use of public resources. This strategy will flourish in the transparent light of day and accountability,” he said.

The Minister said that the MoEYS action plans aimed at reform of the Ministry’s administration, policies, sources of income and financial reports. With these measures in place, parents can be assured that their children are getting the best education services the nation has to offer.

Recent education reform measures have been accomplished with cooperation from the Ministry of Economy and Finance. The Minister said one of these initial steps – the first of many – included the establishment of a group of financial specialists who will serve as advisors, coordinators and financial enablers. They will be responsible for the introduction of education reform measures and the tightening of financial matters.

“We hope that with the reform of the education sector, along with related financial and administrational offices, we will see great improvements in the quality of the service we offer our children,” he said.

According to MoEYS, there are 3,403, 751 students, 106,300 teachers, 1,634 public kindergartens, 6,476 public primary schools, 1,006 public junior high schools, and 315 secondary schools in Cambodia. ////

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