Thursday, 31 October 2013

9 things you should consider before embarking on a PhD: The ideal research program you envision is not what it appears to be

If you are planning to apply for a PhD program, you're probably getting advice from dozens of students, professors, administrators your parents and the Internet. Sometimes it's hard to know which advice to focus on and what will make the biggest difference in the long-run. So before you go back to daydreaming about the day you accept that Nobel Prize, here are nine things you should give serious thought to. One or more of these tips may save you from anguish and help you make better decisions as you embark on that path to a PhD.

1. Actively seek out information about PhD programs

Depending on your undergraduate institution, there may be more or less support to guide you in selecting a PhD program – but there is generally much less than when you applied to college.
On the website of my physics department, I found a page written by one of my professors, which listed graduate school options in physics and engineering along with resources to consult. As far as I know, my career center did not send out much information about PhD programs. Only after applying to programs did I find out that my undergraduate website had a link providing general information applicable to most PhD programs. This is the kind of information that is available all over the Internet.

So don't wait for your career center or department to lay out a plan for you. Actively seek it out from your career center counselors, your professors, the Internet — and especially from alumni from your department who are in or graduated from your desired PhD program. First-hand experiences will almost always trump the knowledge you get second-hand.

2. A PhD program is not simply a continuation of your undergraduate program.

Many students don't internalize this idea until they have jumped head-first into a PhD program. The goal is not to complete an assigned set of courses as in an undergraduate program, but to develop significant and original research in your area of expertise. You will have required courses to take, especially if you do not have a master's degree yet, but these are designed merely to compliment your research and provide a broad and deep knowledge base to support you in your research endeavors.

At the end of your PhD program, you will be judged on your research, not on how well you did in your courses. Grades are not critical as long as you maintain the minimum GPA requirement, and you should not spend too much time on courses at the expense of research projects. Graduate courses tend to be designed to allow you to take away what you will find useful to your research more than to drill a rigid set of facts and techniques into your brain.

3. Take a break between your undergraduate education and a PhD program.

You are beginning your senior year of college, and your classmates are asking you if you are applying to graduate school. You think to yourself, "Well, I like studying this topic and the associated research, and I am going to need a PhD if I want to be a professor or do independent research, so I might as well get it done as soon as possible." But are you certain about the type of research you want to do? Do you know where you want to live for the next five years? Are you prepared to stay in an academic environment for nine years straight?

Many people burn out or end up trudging through their PhD program without a thought about what lies outside of or beyond it. A break of a year or two or even more may be necessary to gain perspective. If all you know is an academic environment, how can you compare it to anything else? Many people take a job for five or more years before going back to get their PhD.
It is true though that the longer you stay out of school, the harder it is to go back to an academic environment with lower pay and a lack of set work hours. A one-year break will give you six months or so after graduation before PhD applications are due. A two-year gap might be ideal to provide time to identify your priorities in life and explore different areas of research without having school work or a thesis competing for your attention.

Getting research experience outside of a degree program can help focus your interests and give you a leg up on the competition when you finally decide to apply. It can also help you determine whether you will enjoy full-time research or if you might prefer an alternative career path that still incorporates science, for example, in policy, consulting or business — or a hybrid research job that combines scientific and non-scientific skills.

I will be forever grateful that I chose to do research in a non-academic environment for a year between my undergraduate and PhD programs. It gave me the chance to get a feel for doing nothing but research for a full year. Working at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in the Space Division, I was the manager of an optics lab, performing spectroscopic experiments on rocks and minerals placed in a vacuum chamber. While my boss determined the overall experimental design, I was able to make my own suggestions for experiments and use my own discretion in how to perform them. I presented this research at two national conferences as well — a first for me. I was also able to learn about other research being performed there, determine which projects excited me the most, and thus narrow down my criteria for a PhD program.

4. Your current area of study does not dictate what you have to study in graduate school.

You might be studying the function and regulation of membrane proteins or doing a computational analysis of the conductivity of different battery designs, but that doesn't mean your PhD project must revolve around similar projects. The transition between college or another research job to a PhD program is one of the main transitions in your life when it is perfectly acceptable to completely change research areas.

If you are doing computation, you may want to switch to lab-based work or vice versa. If you are working in biology but have always had an interest in photonics research, now is the time to try it out. You may find that you love the alternative research and devote your PhD to it, you might hate it and fall back on your previous area of study — or you may even discover a unique topic that incorporates both subjects.

One of the best aspects of the PhD program is that you can make the research your own. Remember, the answer to the question "Why are you doing this research?" should not be "Well, because it's what I've been working on for the past few years already."While my undergraduate research was in atomic physics, I easily transitioned into applied physics and materials science for my PhD program and was able to apply much of what I learned as an undergraduate to my current research. If you are moving from the sciences to a non-scientific field such as social sciences or humanities, this advice can still apply, though the transition is a bit more difficult and more of a permanent commitment.

5. Make sure the PhD program has a variety of research options, and learn about as many research groups as possible in your first year.

Even if you believe you are committed to one research area, you may find that five years of such work is not quite what you expected. As such, you should find a PhD program where the professors are not all working in the same narrowly focused research area. Make sure there are at least three professors working on an array of topics you could imagine yourself working on.

In many graduate programs, you are supposed to pick a research advisor before even starting. But such arrangements often do not work out, and you may be seeking a new advisor before you know it. That's why many programs give students one or two semesters to explore different research areas before choosing a permanent research advisor.

In your first year, you should explore the research of a diverse set of groups. After touring their labs, talking to the students, or sitting in on group meetings, you may find that this group is the right one for you.

In addition, consider the importance of who your research advisor will be. This will be the person you interact with regularly for five straight years and who will have a crucial influence on your research. Do you like their advising style? Does their personality mesh with yours? Can you get along? Of course, the research your advisor works on is critical, but if you have large disagreements at every meeting or do not get helpful advice on how to proceed with your research, you may not be able to succeed. At the very least, you must be able to handle your advisor's management of the lab and advising style if you are going to be productive in your work.

The Harvard program I enrolled in has professors working on research spanning from nanophotonics to energy materials and biophysics, covering my wide range of interests. By spending time in labs and offices informally chatting with graduate students, I found an advisor whose personality and research interests meshed very well with me. Their genuine enthusiasm for this advisor and their excitement when talking about their research was the best input I could have received.

6. Location is more important than you think — but name recognition is not.

At the Asgard Irish Pub in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Andy Greenspon talks with fellow graduate students at an Ask for Evidence workshop organized by Sense About Science. (Photo by Alison Bert)

At the Asgard Irish Pub in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Andy Greenspon talks with fellow graduate students from Harvard and MIT at an Ask for Evidence workshop organized by Sense About Science. He grew up near Boston and chose to go to graduate school there. (Photo by Alison Bert)

The first consideration in choosing a PhD program should be, "Is there research at this university that I am passionate about?" After all, you will have to study this topic in detail for four or more years. But when considering the location of a university, your first thought should not be, "I'm going to be in the lab all the time, so what does it matter if I'm by the beach, in a city, or in the middle of nowhere." 
 
Contrary to popular belief, you will have a life outside of the lab, and you will have to be able to live with it for four or more years. Unlike when you were an undergraduate, your social and extracurricular life will revolve less around the university community, so the environment of the surrounding area is important. Do you need a city atmosphere to be productive? Or is your ideal location surrounded by forests and mountains or by a beach? Is being close to your family important? Imagine what it will be like living in the area during the times you are not doing research; consider what activities will you do and how often will you want to visit family.

While many of the PhD programs that accepted me had research that truly excited me, the only place I could envision living for five or more years was Boston, as the city I grew up near and whose environment and culture I love, and to be close to my family.

While location is more important than you think, the reputation and prestige of the university is not. In graduate school, the reputation of the individual department you are joining — and sometimes even the specific research group you work in — are more important. There, you will develop research collaborations and professional connections that will be crucial during your program and beyond. When searching for a job after graduation, other scientists will look at your specific department, the people you have worked with and the research you have done.

7. Those time management skills you developed in college? Develop them further.

After surviving college, you may think you have mastered the ability to squeeze in your coursework, extracurricular activities and even some sleep. In a PhD program, time management reaches a whole new level. You will not only have lectures to attend and homework to do. You will have to make time for your research, which will include spending extended periods of time in the lab, analyzing data, and scheduling time with other students to collaborate on research.

Also, you will most likely have to teach for a number of semesters, and you will want to attend any seminar that may be related to your research or that just peaks your interest. To top it all off, you will still want to do many of those extracurricular activities you did as an undergraduate. While in the abstract, it may seem simple enough to put this all into your calendar and stay organized, you will find quickly enough that the one hour you scheduled for a task might take two or three hours, putting you behind on everything else for the rest of the day or forcing you to cut other planned events. Be prepared for schedules to go awry, and be willing to sacrifice certain activities. For some, this might be sleep; for others, it might be an extracurricular activity or a few seminars they were hoping to attend. In short, don't panic when things don't go according to plan; anticipate possible delays and be ready to adapt.

8. Expect to learn research skills on the fly – or take advantage of the training your department or career center offers.

This may be the first time you will have to write fellowship or grant proposals, write scientific papers, attend conferences, present your research to others, or even peer-review scientific manuscripts. From my experience, very few college students or even PhD students receive formal training on how to perform any of these tasks. Usually people follow by example. But this is not always easy and can be quite aggravating sometimes. So seek out talks or interactive programs offered by your department or career center. The effort will be well worth it when you realize you've become quite adept at quickly and clearly explaining your research to others and at outlining scientific papers and grant proposals.

Alternatively, ask a more experienced graduate student or your advisor for advice on these topics. In addition, be prepared for a learning curve when learning all the procedures and processes of the group you end up working in. There may be many new protocols to master, whether they involve synthesizing chemicals, growing bacterial cells, or aligning mirrors on an optical table. In addition, the group may use programming languages or data analysis software you are unfamiliar with.

Don't get discouraged but plan to spend extra effort getting used to these procedures and systems. After working with them regularly, they will soon become second nature. When I first started my job at Johns Hopkins, I felt overwhelmed by all the intricacies of the experiment and definitely made a few mistakes, including breaking a number of optical elements. But by the end of my year there, I had written an updated protocol manual for the modifications I had made to the experimental procedures and was the "master" passing on my knowledge to the next person taking the job.

9. There are no real breaks.

In a stereotypical "9-to-5" job, when the workday is over or the weekend arrives, you can generally forget about your work. And a vacation provides an even longer respite. But in a PhD program, your schedule becomes "whenever you find time to get your work done." You might be in the lab during regular work hours or you might be working until 10 p.m. or later to finish an experiment. And the only time you might have available to analyze data might be at 1 a.m. Expect to work during part of the weekend, too. Graduate students do go on vacations but might still have to do some data analysis or a literature search while away.

As a PhD student, it might be hard to stop thinking about the next step in an experiment or that data sitting on your computer or that paper you were meaning to start. While I imagine some students can bifurcate their mind between graduate school life and everything else, that's quite hard for many of us to do. No matter what, my research lies somewhere in the back of my head. In short, your schedule is much more flexible as a PhD student, but as a result, you never truly take a break from your work.

While this may seem like a downer, remember that you should have passion for the research you work on (most of the time), so you should be excited to think up new experiments or different ways to consider that data you have collected. Even when I'm lying in bed about to fall asleep, I am sometimes ruminating about aspects of my experiment I could modify or what information I could do a literature search on to gain new insights. A PhD program is quite the commitment and rarely lives up to expectations – but it is well worth the time and effort you will spend for something that truly excites you.

10 tips to finishing your PhD faster What they don’t always tell you before you sign up for graduate school

I hope I can begin to offer some help in the way of this list. Really, there's much more than I can put in a list of 10 items, so be on the lookout for more advice to follow.

1. Immerse yourself in writing – and learn how to write a funding proposal.

Some might say this is more important after you finish a PhD. Don't fall into that trap. Learning how to write a funding proposal is nothing like writing your dissertation or a typical journal article. However, all types of funding proposals (federal, state, foundations, private/corporate, military) may offer you an opportunity to actually fund your research while working on your PhD. And it may very well be your best and most attractive resume item to landing a great job. For example, my professional organization, the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science, offers research grants to conduct graduate research. I was able to fund most of my research budget by this opportunity. Many other federal granting agencies, organizations and private foundations will have funding opportunities that often offer graduate students a vehicle to fund their research, especially if you are conducting research that is important to that agency/foundation mission.

2. Find a strong mentor.

I can't stress how important this is. Can it be yourDissertation chair? Possibly, but find someone that can give you critical feedback on projects and encouragement. I was fortunate to have several colleagues in my college that had taken the PhD journey. I surrounded myself with several of these "PhD veterans," and they were able to help me avoid hurdles that could have slowed me down. They also were able to provide the most important thing a grad student might need – understanding and constant feedback. Think about finding someone that knows how to motivate you to finish jobs. It might be a colleague or a former professor. However, it should not be a friend that tells you all things will be just fine.

3. Grow a thick skin and take critical feedback for what it is – constructive criticism.

It's OK to sulk a bit (we all do when we find out we are not a Nobel Prize winner in our first year of grad school), but get over it ASAP and learnfrom these comments. Most professors and advisors have much to share when it comes to the ins and outs of research design, writing for publication or finding grants. An old saying I always tell students and colleagues – "One often remember the toughest teacher the most" – is true for a reason.

4. Find the right dissertation chair for you.

I always tell new PhD students that the chair of the program may not be the right choice – or a brand new tenure track professor or the 30+ year professor in the department. Do your research! Do they "graduate" students in a timely manner, and are they decently well-known in their research field? Are they collegial?

One way to find a dissertation chair is to do some research via the internet, or you could talk to current graduate students about particular professors. The department might also be able to assist you on finding out the statistics on each professor. For example, I found out the start to finish time period for a graduate student and the PhD completion rate under "X" professor. In my personal opinion, you don't want a rookie professor that's trying to make tenure, and you don't want the retiring professor that may not be worried about research anymore. And it's OK if they are tough. If they teach you something and get you through the process, that's what matters. It's like parenting; they shouldn't be your friend when they need to be your parent!

5. Direct your course research projects or independent study for course credit towards your dissertation.

This could easily be my number one piece of advice. If you can conduct literature reviews or pilot research projects in your preparatory courses towards what you want to do your dissertation on, do it. This step will help you save time downstream in the dissertation phase. I turned three independent studies (with future dissertation committee members) into nine hours of completed doctoral coursework while also completing much of my first two chapters for the dissertation. Let me explain how I did this in more detail.

I always knew that I wanted to conduct a dissertation on Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) with regard to the knowledge, learning, and adaptation of individuals who had been diagnosed with MRSA. So, I went to the department chair of my PhD program and asked about opportunities to take independent study courses (electives) that would allow me to build towards conducting my literature review, pilot study and funding opportunities for my topic. By the time I reached the proposal stage, I truly had my first two chapters of my dissertation in good shape.

6. Keep your dissertation topic as narrow as possible.

You may want to save the world, but do you want to spend 10 years on your PhD? You have a research life after the PhD is done to save the world. Certainly, if you want to win the Nobel Prize while working on your dissertation, then go for it, but be prepared for a long commitment. This is very important.

A narrow topic might seem like you will not have enough data or things to say. However, the longer I do research, the more often I see the value in a strong but narrow research design. Seek out active researchers in your core area of interest and discuss the "needs" of that research. Is there something missing from the literature? Are there research questions or hypotheses already being asked that need answering? These are great ways to narrow your topic and be relevant for publication.

7. There's a reason 50 percent of PhD candidates stay ABD.  ...

Perseverance and finishing the job, in my humble opinion, are the two most important traits and qualities one needs after coursework is complete. As I tell my own two children, it's OK to fail but it's not OK to quit. Set an agenda and schedule with your dissertation chair and be accountable to it – and keep your chair accountable. I met with my chair every three weeks during my dissertation and finished in one and a half years! It can be done. Don't let your chair or yourself off the hook on this item. Find the time to meet on a set schedule. I typically would promise my chair that I would have a portion of a chapter done before our meeting time.

And, don't alienate your chair by emailing them pages to edit the night before. Always be sure to give them the courtesy of at least a week of time to review your work prior to your set time. They are very busy too and it will be more productive if they have time to edit your pages in advance. Celebrate each hurdle that you clear so that you know you're are making progress.

8. Focus only on the next step or hurdle as you work.

This can be very difficult – to not stress out about the entire dissertation journey. It's so easy to become paralyzed by the mountain of checklists and things to do. This tip follows #7 for a reason. Set your agenda and schedule, and focus on what is immediately in front of you. Usually, the first step is forming your committee with a chair. Do that and celebrate. Then move to the next step, and the next:
  • Proposal/research design – check
  • IRB (institutional review board) consent – check
  • Pilot study – check
  • Gather data – check
  • Analysis – check
  • Write, write, write with a purpose and schedule – check
  • Defend – check
  • Finish – yes!

9. Find a strong quantitative (or qualitative) research colleague that will assist you with a strong design.

This is a critical decision, and doing it early and correctly will make your dissertation matter so as not to end up on the shelf. It has been my experience that most poorly written or non-meaningful dissertations were a result of the wrong research design. If your university has a "go-to person" for a quantitative design, seek that person out. But, don't choose that person to be on your committee or to assist you if they are primarily a qualitative researcher.

If you are considering a mixed-methods approach, then you might consider that option. I have a very good friend who is an expert quantitative researcher that has won multiple funding awards on a variety of projects across multiple disciplines. He always states that this is the biggest weakness of dissertations – a poor design. It's a national problem so don't ignore it. Find help if you need it. Get it right up front, and not only will it help you finish. It will make your work relevant and publish-worthy.

10. Promote your work and talk to others.

This advice may not seem relevant for your dissertation. However, I would argue that you should do this not only on your campus but to go to graduate research forums, professional organizations for graduate research presentation, colleagues in your research area, and other routes to promote your work. Obviously, in today's world that might mean a good online blog, too. It can actually lead a solid sounding board for your research and may lead to job opportunities as you move into the final stages of your dissertation completion.

Now go do it. Concentrate on each step and see yourself finishing that step. Success is mostly about hard work and persistence. It's what separates the "almost finished" from a job well done. Nothing, in my experience, can take the place of sticktuitiveness. Good luck!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Cambodia: Education to Receive 20% Boost in 2014 Budget

By and - October 29, 2013

The Education Ministry on Monday said it was in line for a near 20 percent hike from the government’s $3.52 billion draft budget for 2014, approved by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Cabinet on Friday, though other details of how money was to be allocated remained elusive.

Newly appointed Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron said his ministry was being offered a $335 million budget for next year, up from the $280 million it was budgeted for in 2013. 

“We heard the budget increased for education. The budget for 2014 increasedto $335 million,” said Mr. Chuon Naron, who was “happy” with the plan.

If approved by the National Assembly later this year as expected, it will represent a 19.6 percent hike in funding for the ministry, which aid agencies and teachers’ unions have long considered desperately underfunded. Yet, the funds for education still come in at less than 2 percent of the country’s projected 2014 gross domestic product (GDP)—or $17.2 billion as projected by the World Bank—a figure unions, aid do­nors and even some ministry officials consider far too low.

In August, Education Ministry Secretary of State Nath Bunroeun said the sector needed at least twice what it was getting, not least of all to raise paltry teacher salaries.

“If we want to output quality graduates we need quality input, and that means better trained, better paid teachers,” he said at the time at a workshop on the ministry’s new five-year plan. “We should be inputting between 4 and 6 percent [of GDP].”

Critics have also blamed past national budgets for underfunding social sectors such as education and health in favor of more spending on security.

The ministries of defense and interior received a combined $400 million in 2013.

Defense Minister General Tea Banh on Monday declined to say what his ministry was being offered in the draft budget for 2014, but he said it would not be going up by too much.

“The budget will not increase too much because we just need a bit more [funding] for food,” he said, declining to elaborate.

The government has remained highly secretive about the draft budget since it passed the prime minister’s Cabinet meeting on Friday.

Officials at other ministries, including those for health and finance, declined to comment on their allocations.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said the draft was a private government document until the Cabinet submitted it to the National Assembly for ratification, which it was legally bound to do during the first week of November.

“The draft is not supposed to be in the public hands unless it is submitted to the National Assembly,” he said. “At this point it is still government property.”

The opposition, however, regularly accuses Mr. Hun Sen’s government of making the budget process too opaque and of giving such important legislation too little time for debate.
“In the National Assembly in some countries they debate [the budget] for months, but in this country they debate sometimes only two days; it is not enough,” opposition CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said.

This year, the government is also threatening to pass the budget by the end of the year wheth­er or not the opposition party takes its seats at the National Assembly. The CNRP is refusing to take its 55 seats, nearly half of parliament, to protest July’s flawed national election.

The CNRP says the CPP’s one-party Assembly is illegitimate until its lawmakers join, and Mr. Sovann said any vote on the budget without them would be illegal.

In January, the U.S.-based International Budget Partnership gave Cambodia a score of 15 out of a possible 100 points in its latest open budget survey. That placed the country in the lowest of five possible categories for how much budget information it made publicly available: scant to none.

ក្រសួង​អប់រំ​​ទទួល​បាន​ថវិកា​បន្ថែម​ជិត​២០ភាគ​រយ​ពី​គម្រោង​ថវិកាជាតិ​ឆ្នាំ​២០១៤

ដោយ and - October 29, 2013

ក្រសួង​អប់រំ​បាន​ឲ្យដឹង​កាល​ពី​ម្សិលមិញ​ថា ខ្លួន​នឹង​ទទួល​បាន​ ថវិកាបន្ថែម​ជិត​២០​ភាគរយ​ពី​គម្រោង​​ថវិកា​​​ ៣,៥២​ពាន់​លាន​​របស់​រដ្ឋាភិបាល​​សម្រាប់​ឆ្នាំ២០១៤។​ សេចក្ដី​​ព្រាង​​​ ថវិកា​នេះ​ត្រូវ​បាន​​ខុទ្ទ​កាល័យ​លោក​​នា​យក​រដ្ឋ​មន្ត្រី ហ៊ុន សែន​  បានអនុម័ត​កាល​ពី​ថ្ងៃ​សុក្រ​ ប៉ុន្តែ​សេចក្ដី​លម្អិត​ផ្សេង​ៗទៀត​ពាក់​ ព័ន្ធ​នឹង​ចំនួន​ទឹក​ប្រាក់​ដែល​ត្រូវ​បាន​លៃ​ទុក​​សម្រាប់​ក្រសួង​​នីមួយ​ៗ ​គឺ​នៅ​មិន​ទាន់​ច្បាស់នៅឡើយ​​ទេ​។​​

លោក​ ហង្ស ជួន​ណារ៉ុន រដ្ឋ​មន្ត្រី​ក្រសួង​អប់រំ​ទើប​តែ​ង​តាំង​ថ្មី​  បាន​ឲ្យ​ដឹង​ថា ក្រសួង​​របស់​លោក​​​​នេះ​​​នឹង​ត្រូវ​បាន​ផ្ដល់​ថវិកា​​ ចំនួន​៣៣៥​លាន​ដុល្លារ​​សម្រាប់​ឆ្នាំ​ក្រោយ​ គឺ​កើន​​ពី​ចំនួន​២៨០​លាន​ ដុល្លារ​​ ក្នុង​ឆ្នាំ​២០១៣​។ លោក​បាន​មានប្រសាសន៍​ថា “យើង​បាន​ឮ​ថា​ នឹង​​មាន​​​ការ​​បង្កើន​ថវិកា​ សម្រាប់​​វិស័យ​អប់​រំ​។ ថវិកា​សម្រាប់​ឆ្នាំ២០១៤​គឺ​នឹង​កើន​ដល់​​៣៥៥​លាន​ ដុល្លារ​”។

ប្រសិន​បើ​​ត្រូវ​បាន​រដ្ឋសភា​ជាតិ​អនុម័ត​​នៅ​ចុង​ឆ្នាំ​នេះ​​ដូច​​ការ​ រំពឹង​​ទុក​មែន​នោះ​ វា​នឹង​ស្មើ​នឹ​ងការ​បង្កើន​ថវិកា​១៩,៦​ភាគ​រយ​​​ សម្រាប់ក្រសួង​ដែល​ទីភ្នាក់ងារ​​ផ្ដល់​ជំនួយ​និង​​សហជីព​គ្រូបង្រៀន​មើលឃើញ​ ថា មាន​បញ្ហា​ថវិកា​​ជា​យូរ​មក​ហើយ​នេះ។ ទោះ​ជា​យ៉ាង​ណា ​ថវិកា​សម្រាប់​ វិស័យ​អប់រំ​នេះ​​នៅ​​តែ​មាន​​​ចំនួន​តិច​ជាង​២​ភាគរយ​នៃ​ផលិត​ផល​​​ក្នុង​ ស្រុក​​សរុប​ (GDP) ដែល​ត្រូវ​បាន​​​ព្យាករ​​ទុក​សម្រាប់​ឆ្នាំ​​២០១៤​ ពោល​គឺ​១៧​ពាន់​​លាន​ ដុល្លារ​ បើ​តាម​ការ​ព្យាករ​​​​របស់​​​​​ធនា​​​​គារ​​​​ពិភព​លោក​។​ សហជីព  ប្រទេស​ផ្ដល់​ជំនួយ​ និង​​សូម្បីតែ​មន្ត្រី​ក្រសួង​​អប់រំ​​មួយ​ចំនួ​ន​បាន​ លើក​ឡើ​ងថា ថវិកា​មិន​ដល់​២​ភាគ​រយនៃ​ផលិត​ផល​ក្នុ​ងស្រុក​សរុប​​​នេះ​ គឺ​ ទាប​ពេក​ហើយ​។

កាលពី​ខែ​សីហា​ លោក​ ណាត ប៊ុន​រឿន រដ្ឋ​លេខាធិការក្រសួង​អប់​រំ​​បាន​លើក ​ឡើង​ថា វិស័យ​អប់​រំ​នេះ​​ត្រូវ​ការ​​ថវិកា​ដែល​ខ្លួន​បាន​ទទួល​​​យ៉ាង​តិច ​ទ្វេដង​ ដើម្បី​តម្លើង​ប្រាក់​ខែ​គ្រូបង្រៀន​។​ លោក​បាន​​មាន​ប្រសាសន៍​អំឡុង​សិក្ខា​សាលា​មួយ​ស្ដីពី​ផែនការ​រយៈ​ពេល​ប្រាំ​ ឆ្នាំ​ថ្មី​របស់​ក្រសួង​នេះ​ថា “ប្រសិន​បើ​យើង​ចង់​ឲ្យ​និស្សិត​បញ្ចប់​ការ​ សិក្សា​​មាន​គុណភាព យើង​ត្រូវ​ទទួ​ល​បាន​ធនធាន​មាន​គុណ​ភាព​ដែរ​​ មាន​ន័យ​ ថា យើង​ត្រូ​វ​មាន​​គ្រូបង្រៀន​​ ដែល​មាន​ប្រាក់​ខែ​ច្រើន​ជាង​មុន​ និង​ ទទួល​បាន​​ការ​​​​​បណ្ដុះបណ្ដាល​ច្រើន​ជាង​មុន​។ យើង​គួរ​តែ​​បញ្ចូល​​ ថវិកាចន្លោះ​ពី​៤ ទៅ​៦ភាគរយ​នៃ​ផលិត​ផល​​​ក្នុង​ស្រុក​​សរុប​”។

ក្រុម​អ្នករិះគន់​ក៏​បាន​រិះគន់​ការ​​ផ្ដល់​ថវិកា​ជាតិ​មិន​គ្រប់គ្រាន់​ សម្រាប់​វិស័យ​សង្គម​កិច្ច​​មួយ​ចំនួន ​ដូចជា​វិស័យ​អប់រំ​ និង​វិស័យ​សុខា​ភិបាល​ ផ្ទុយ​ពី​វិស័យ​ការពារជាតិ​ផង​ ដែរ​។ ក្រសួង​ការពារជាតិ និង​ក្រសួង​មហាផ្ទៃ​បាន​ទទួល​ថវិកា​សរុប​​ចំនួន​៤០០​លាន​ ដុល្លារ​ក្នុង​ឆ្នាំ២០១៣។
កាល​ពីម្សិលមិញ​ លោក ទៀ បាញ់​ រដ្ឋ​មន្ត្រី​ក្រសួង​ការពារជាតិ​បាន​ បដិសេធ​​មិន​​និយាយ​ថា តើ​ក្រសួង​របស់​​លោ​ក​បាន​ទទួល​ថវិកា​ចំនួ​ន​ ប៉ុន្មាន​ក្នុង​សេចក្ដី​ព្រាង​​​ថវិកា​ឆ្នាំ​២០១៤​ទេ  ក៏​ប៉ុន្តែ​បាន​ បញ្ជាក់​ថា ​វា​នឹង​​មិន​កើនឡើ​ងច្រើន​ឡើ​យ​។ លោក​បាន​មានប្រសាសន៍​ថា “ថវិកានឹង​មិន​​កើន​ឡើ​ងច្រើន​ទេ​ ព្រោះ​យើង​​ត្រូវ ​ការ​ [ថវិកា​] ​​​ត្រឹមតែ​​​បន្តិច​ទៀត​សម្រាប់​ស្បៀង​អាហារ​​​តែ​​​​ ប៉ុណ្ណោះ​” ដោយ​លោក​​បាន​បដិ-​សេធ​​​​​មិន​​បរិយាយ​លម្អិត​ឡើយ​។

រដ្ឋាភិបាល​គឺ​​​នៅ​តែ​មាន​ការ​​លាក់​លៀម​ច្រើនអំពី​សេចក្ដី​ព្រាង​​​ ថវិកា​នេះ​​ចាប់​តាំង​ពី​​ពេល​​​សេចក្ដី​ព្រាង​​នេះ​ឆ្លង​កាត់​​​​ការ​​​ អនុម័ត​​​​​អំឡុង​​​​​​​កិច្ច​ប្រជុំ​​​​​​គណៈ​​​រដ្ឋ​មន្ត្រី​ចាប់​តាំង​ពី ​ថ្ងៃ​សុក្រ​​មក​។ មន្ត្រី​នៅ​ឯ​​​ក្រសួង​ផ្សេង​ៗ​​ទៀត​​ រួម​ទាំង​ក្រសួង​សុខាភិបាល​ និង​ក្រសួង​ហិរញ្ញវត្ថុផង​​បាន​បដិសេធ​មិន​ធ្វើ ​អត្ថាធិប្បាយ​អំពី​​​ការ​លៃ​ទុក​ថវិកា​សម្រាប់​ក្រសួង​របស់​ខ្លួន​ទេ​។

លោក​ ផៃ ស៊ីផាន​ អ្នក​នាំពាក្យ​ទីស្ដីការ​​គណៈរដ្ឋ​មន្ត្រី​​ បានឲ្យ​ដឹង​ថា សេចក្ដី​ព្រាង​នេះ​​ គឺ​ជា​​ឯកសារ​ផ្ទៃ​​​ក្នុង​​​​របស់​​ រដ្ឋាភិបាល​​រហូត​ទាល់តែ​គណៈរដ្ឋ​មន្ត្រី​​បញ្ជូន​វា​ទៅ​​រដ្ឋ​សភា​ជាតិ​​ សម្រាប់​ការ​អនុម័ត​រួច​​​។​​​​​រដ្ឋ​​​សភា​​មាន​កាតព្វកិច្ច​​អនុម័ត​វា​ តាម​ផ្លូវ​ច្បាប់​អំឡុង​សប្ដាហ៍​ទី១​នៃ​ខែ​វិច្ឆិកា​។ លោក​បាន​មានប្រសាសន៍​ថា “សេចក្ដី​ព្រាង​នេះ​​មិន​សម​ឲ្យ​សាធារណជន​ដឹង​​ទេ​ លុះត្រា​តែ​វា​​ត្រូវ​បាន​បញ្ជូន​ទៅ​​​ដល់​រដ្ឋ​សភា​សិន។ ក្នុង​ដំណាក់​កាល​ នេះ​ វា​នៅ​ជា​​កម្ម​-សិទ្ធិ​​​របស់​រដ្ឋាភិបាល​​​នៅ​ឡើយ​ទេ​”។
ទោះ​ជា​យ៉ាង​ណា​ គណបក្ស​ប្រឆាំង​តែ​ង​បាន​ចោទ​រដ្ឋាភិបា​ល​របស់​លោក​  ហ៊ុន​ សែន​ថា បាន​ធ្វើ​ឲ្យ​ដំណើរកា​​រ​ព្រាង​​​ថវិកា​​មាន​ភាព​​​​​​មិន​ ច្បាស់​លា​ស់​ និង​ថា​ បាន​​​ផ្ដល់​ពេល​វេលា​​តិច​តួច​​ពេក​សម្រាប់ការ​ពិភាក្សា​ដេញដោល​អំពី​ សេចក្ដី​ព្រាង​ច្បាប់​​ដ៏​សំខាន់​​​​នេះ​។

លោក​ យឹម សុវណ្ណ​ អ្នក​នាំពាក្យ​គណ​បក្ស​សង្គ្រោះ​ជាតិ​​ បាន​ មានប្រសាសន៍​ថា “នៅ​រដ្ឋ​​​សភា​ជាតិ​​នៅ​​​ក្នុង​ប្រទេស​មួយ​ចំនួន​ គេ​ ពិភាក្សា​ដេញ​ដោល​​ [អំពី​ថវិកា​ជាតិ​] រយៈ​ពេល​រាប់​ខែ​ ប៉ុន្តែ​នៅ​ក្នុង​ ​ប្រទេស​នេះ​​ ពេល​ខ្លះ​​ គេ​ពិភាក្សា​ដេញដោល​តែ​ពីរ​ថ្ងៃ​ប៉ុណ្ណោះ​ វា​មិន​គ្រប់​គ្រាន់​ឡើយ​”។

ឆ្នាំ​នេះ​រដ្ឋាភិបាល​​ក៏​បាន​គំរាម​​អនុម័ត​សេចក្ដី​​ព្រាង​ថវិកា​ឲ្យ​ បាន​មុន​ដំណាច់​ឆ្នាំ​នេះ​ មិន​​​​ថា  គណបក្ស​​​​សង្គ្រោះ​​​ជាតិ​​​​ព្រម​ទទួល​យក​​​​​អាសនៈ​​របស់​ខ្លួន​នៅ​រដ្ឋ​ សភា​ជាតិ​ ឬ​អត់​ផង​ដែរ​។ គណ​បក្ស​សង្គ្រោះ​ជាតិ​​នៅ​តែ​បដិ​សេធ​​មិន​ទទួល​ យក​អាសនៈ​ទាំង​៥៥​របស់​ខ្លួន​ដែល​​មាន​ចំនួន​ស្មើ​នឹង​ជិត​ពាក់​កណ្ដាល​​នៃ​ ​អាសនៈ​សភា​​ដើម្បី​សម្ដែង​​ការ​តវ៉ា​​ចំពោះ​ភាព​មិន​ប្រក្រតី​​ក្នុង​ការ​ បោះឆ្នោត​កាល​ពី​ខែ​កក្កដា​ ទេ​។

គណបក្សសង្គ្រោះ​ជាតិ​បាន​លើក​ឡើង​ថា រដ្ឋសភា​ឯកបក្ស​​ក្រោម​ការ​ដឹកនាំ​ របស់​គណបក្ស​ប្រជាជន​កម្ពុជា​ គឺ​មិន​ស្រប​ច្បាប់​ទេ​រហូត​ទាល់​តែ​​សមាជិក​ សភា​របស់​ខ្លួន​ព្រម​ចូល​រួម​​ប្រជុំ​ ហើយ​លោក​ យឹម​ សុវណ្ណ បាន​លើក​ឡើង​ថា  ការ​បោះឆ្នោត​អនុម័ត​​​​សេចក្ដី​ព្រាង​ថវិកា​​​​ដោយ​គ្មាន​វត្តមាន​របស់​​ តំណាង​រាស្ត្រ​ជាប់​ឆ្នោត​របស់​គណបក្ស​ខ្លួន​ គឺ​ជា​រឿង​មិន​​ស្រប​ច្បាប់​​ ​​ទេ​​​។

គួររំឭកថា កាល​ពី​ខែ​មករា​​ អង្គការ​​ Inter-national Budget  Partnership បាន​​ដាក់​ពិន្ទុឲ្យ​កម្ពុជា​​១៥​ពិន្ទុ​ក្នុង​ចំណោម​១០០​ ពិន្ទុ​ ក្នុង​ការ​ស្ទង់​មតិ​​អំពី​​ការ​ព្រាង​ថវិកា​ជាតិ​​ដោយ​បើក​ចំហ​ថ្មី​បំផុ​ត ​របស់​ខ្លួន​។ ពិន្ទុ​នេះ​ធ្វើ​ឲ្យ​កម្ពុជា​​ស្ថិត​នៅ​ក្នុង​​ចំណោម​​ប្រទេស ​មាន​ចំណាត់​ថ្នាក់​ទាប​បំផុត​ ដោយ​សារ​​​តែ​​​ព័ត៌មាន​អំពី​សេចក្ដី​ព្រាង​ ថវិកា​​​​​ដែល​រដ្ឋាភិ​បាល​​​កម្ពុជា​​​​​​​បាន​​​ផ្ដល់​ឲ្យ​សាធា​រណ​ជន​បាន ​ជ្រាប​ គឺ​ស្ទើរ​​​តែ​គ្មាន​សោះ​តែ​ម្ដង​៕ (សេរីវុធ)