In an effort to assist PhD Candidates to fulfill the requirement of the PhD process, the Techo Sen School of Government and International Relations (TSS) of The University of Cambodia organized a Workshop on Good Governance and Effective Public Services on Sunday, March 11, 2018 at the Cambodia Hall of The University of Cambodia. The Workshop, which was attended by 36 PhD candidates and students from University of Cambodia and from outside the Universities, were conducted in three distinctive sessions, namely the plenary session comprised of presentations by speakers on four different topics related to Good Governance and Effective Public Services, groups discussion and closing session.
The workshop started with the observation of National Anthem, then an Open Remarks by Prof. Keo Chhea, Dean of the Techo Sen School of Government and International Relations in which Prof. Keo Chhea stressed on the need to continue learning on both classroom and outside classroom learning, process of exchanging views/ideas and consultation to guide essay and dissertation writings. He also informed the workshop on the process of the workshop as well as encouraged all participants to actively involved in the groups discussion on the four elements of the Good Governance and Effective Public Services, namely good governance, corruption awareness, ethical leadership in public administration, and the impact of ICT on public administration and services.
Mr. Long Lim, a PhD Candidate of the TSS acted as the Moderator of the Workshop, introduced the four volunteer speakers, namely H.E. Han Kosal, Deputy Governor of Kampong Cham Province and PhD Candidate of TSS who would speak on Good Governance in Cambodia; Mr. Oum Socheat, Deputy Chief of Protocol of MFA.IC and a PhD Candidate of the City University of Hong Kong, who would speak on The Role of Awareness and Anti-Corruption Movement: Case of Cambodia ; Mr. Toun Yat, Chief of the Europe and America Department of the Commission for External Relations of the Cambodian People’s Party and a PhD Candidate of TSS, who would speak on Ethical Leadership in Public Administration; and Mr. Chhoeun Raksmey, Chief of Bureau of Information and Technology of Ministry of Industry, and a PhD candidate of TSS, would speak on Technology in the 21st Century Public Administration: Challenges and Opportunities.
On Good Governance in Cambodia, H.E. Han Kosal presented the Rectangular Strategy of the Royal Government of Cambodia in this 5th Legislature tenure, its achievement and reform. He also stressed on how to translate the good strategy into beneficial action to serve as catalyst of the national development and people’s interest as well as poverty reduction, good governance and corruption free society. He also explained on opportunities and challenges in coordination and implementation of this strategy from national government to local authorities and vice versa.
On the Role of Awareness and Anti-Corruption Movement: Case of Cambodia, Mr. Oum Socheat emphasized his presentation on five approaches namely the purpose of the study on corruption, literature review of corruption, case study in Cambodia, analytical framework and hypotheses of corruption and research and methodology. He also stressed on changing of people’s perception towards corruption from corruption as a way of life to corruption as a threat to social development.
On Ethical Leadership in Public Administration, Mr. Toun Yat presented four elements which include development and materialism concept, religious and ethical values, ethical leadership in public administration with balanced efficiency and effectiveness, and the righteous way to righteous results for peace and harmony, sustainable development and good governance.
On Technology in the 21st Century Public Administration: Challenges and Opportunities, Mr. Chhoeun Raksmey, steered his presentation through four approaches namely Information Communication and Technology (ICT) in public administration, advantages and disadvantages of ICT in public administration, challenges of public administration in Cambodia and impact of ICT on chronic corruption.
The Workshop then was divided into four groups discussion with each group was led by the presenter of the topic to discuss thoroughly on ideas and approaches. After forty-five minutes of discussion, each group came up with set of recommendations and suggestions as follow:
- Basically, there are three fundamental factors that help transform the good paper into good governance.
- Initially, good leadership is the basic form for guaranteeing the best practice of the governance. Without having right leadership, there are only rules and regulations, there are no practice that is correspondent with written notes on the papers.
- Moreover, having clear responsibilities is one of the best assets which ensure the good governance. When the government officials have explicit responsibilities, they are able to play their roles effectively and efficiently. Besides, in order to help transform the good paper into good governance, capacity building is needed.
- There should be certain trainings for government officials such as corruption reduction policy so that they are able to work in the right directions.
- The deep root of corruption practices should be thoroughly examined at both national and local levels.
- Mainstreaming corruption awareness through social media, seminar and conference, people contacts, and most importantly through education from the lowest level, thus to change the perception of understanding corruption practices as a way of life to corruption as a threat to social and economic development.
- Public survey on certain group of people to address their weak corruption awareness, and make them understand that corruption is a punishable crime.
- Keep balance between soft and hard policies to fit with the social context because best fitting is far better than best practice and theories.
- Transformation process should not only focus on their acts and behavior, but also on deep thought and perception of the people, as the right understanding of the subject is the ultimate goal of transformation.
- Use ICT to reduce corruption through enhancing promoting and achieving accountability, transparency and efficiency and effectiveness in public services, and
- Use ICT to develop institutional trust from the people, i.e. apps, social media and public comments, and both private and government institutions should be transformed through using automation system of payment, tax collection, and other services as well as sharing of information across the limited borders.
In his closing remarks, Dr. Din Merican, Associate Dean of TSS and Special Assistant to H.E. Dr. Kao Kim Hourn, President and founder of The University of Cambodia, highly applauded the four talented speakers for their presentations of the topics as well as for skillfully stirring the discussion in their groups. He also stressed the importance of embedding the culture of good governance and effective public administration by sharing good values and concepts and of the need to eliminate the culture of corruption from the society through education.
The workshop was conducted smoothly in a frank and sincere atmosphere and each participant realized the importance of such a workshop as a platform for sharing their concept and ideas on the topics for public administration and public policy learning. Participants felt that there should be more of such platform to help them speed up their dissertation writing process as well as understand the areas deeply and comprehensively. In this sense, the participants requested the TSS as well as the University to organize such workshop regularly.
The participants and organizers of the workshop on Good Governance and Effective Public Services expressed appreciation and gratitude to The University of Cambodia and the TSS for facilitating such workshop for benefit of the students and PhD candidates. The Organizers also expressed appreciation to all PhD candidates, friends and faculty members for their active participation in the workshop.