Sok An Says Gov’t Will Increase Recruitment

Cabinet Minister Sok An told new graduates of the National Uni­versity of Management on Thurs­day that the government this year will significantly increase the number of graduates it hires into the civil service.

“This year we will choose 5,000 grad­uates,” he told 2,429 students at a ceremony to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Sok An said the state normally hires 3,000 out of approximately 10,000 graduating students every year, but this year more are needed to make up for civil servant re­tirements.

“The requests from the various ministries ask for much more than this…but we have to look into our na­tional budget’s capability, whe­ther we can sustain it or not be­cause in the first place we have to raise salaries,” he said.

For years, the government and do­nors have agreed that public ad­ministrative reform requires salary increases to discourage bribe-taking and poor performance by public servants, and some have argued that the number of civil servants be cut in order to increase salaries for those remaining.

However, the latest draft of the Na­tional Strategic Development Plan states that “the Cambodian Ad­ministration is not bloated nor overly expensive when compared to other countries in the region.”

Opposition party Senator Kong Korm, chairman of the Senate’s education committee, welcomed the government’s decision to em­ploy more young people, but said the salaries of civil servants should be increased first.

He also urged that civil servant entrance examinations be conducted without corruption.

Opposition party member Mu Sochua said she worried that the ex­tra government jobs were a step back in the state’s administrative reform, which should reduce government employees who have no real work to do.

“I worry this recruitment means the young people are being [wasted],” she said, noting that when she was minister of women’s af­fairs many talented employees had little or no work assigned to them at the ministry.

Commerce Minister Cham Pra­sidh called on Thursday for firms to hire graduates.

“Today, there are graduating 200 to 300 new MBAs, but will they find work?” he asked a meeting of in­vestors, urging banks to em­ploy as many top students as possible.

Education Ministry Secretary of State Pith Chamnan said that in total, 48,729 students have graduated from 19 state universities and 31 private universities since the 1980s in Cambodia.

(Additional report­ing by Erik Wasson)


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