Prime Minister Hun Manet has reiterated that the Royal School of Administration (ERA), a training school for civil servants and public service officials, must have high standards of discipline, but that its implementation should not need to be strict. He urged each student to take responsibility for themselves, guaranteeing the school can maintain high standards.

“It should not be necessary to force students to adhere to disciplinary standards because this should be the personal responsibility of each student and teacher. As current and future leaders, our public officials should not need to be disciplined to put pressure on them,” he said during a June 10 ceremony to close the 2023 training course and open the 2024 course.

ERA, also known as the Ecole Royale d’Administration, is located in Phnom Penh. 

Manet added that it should not be necessary to install fingerprint scanners, or verify students’ presence through their signatures.

 “I think we should work together to achieve this, and I don’t believe ERA director Youk Bunna has any intention of putting pressure on the students,” he said.

“He wants ERA to be a model school, without having to forcibly apply rules against students. Each student should work together to ensure the institution maintains high standards of discipline, because it is a school for leaders,” he explained.

The prime minister said the students who study at ERA, whether they had just passed the civil service examinations or were serving public officials, are current and future leaders to some degree. He noted that they need to set an example, and the best way to do so is through self-control and the fulfilment of their duties without the threat of punishment.

Manet believed that every student should understand their obligations, as well as the value of the education they are receiving.

“A well-disciplined ERA should be possible without the need for pressure from the school. All students must work together to be responsible for enforcing discipline themselves. ERA should be a high-level school for our officials,” he said.

Yang Poeu, secretary-general of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said: “I agree with the prime minister’s idea that future leaders should exercise self-control. But there must also be a code of discipline”.

He added that before reaching sufficient self-discipline, it is necessary for individuals to be educated from an early age. Their education must be ethical, equitable, provide opportunities for everyone and cultivate the spirit of education and discipline.

“These are the basic principles of humanity and leadership, and must be cultivated from an early age. However, there is still a need for rules or principles, statutes, and separate internal regulations of the institution,” he told The Post on June 10.

According to a June 10 social media post by the prime minister, since its reopening more than 30 years ago in 1992, ERA has trained 23,818 civil servants, through both long and short-term courses.