New rules for proctors

July 25th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

In its continuing campaign to clean up the grade 12 national exam, the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) has warned that anyone caught leaking copies of the test or selling answers could find themselves imprisoned.

Punishments for misbehaving exam observers are spelled out in an ACU statement released yesterday, which splits penalties into three levels.

For smaller offences such as making noise, not wearing an ID pass or showing up late, observers will receive a warning. …

Chhay Channyda

Water plan for schools on tap

July 21st, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

At nearly half of the Kingdom’s primary schools, students have to make a daily choice between drinking contaminated water or going thirsty, a dilemma the government hopes to soon banish with new minimum sanitation and safe water standards.

The guidelines, which have yet to be finalised but are intended for the upcoming school year, according to an Education Ministry official, include increasing infrastructure so that every primary school has one latrine per 50 students, half a litre of drinking water for each child and 2-3 litres of hand-washing water available per person. …

Laignee Barron

More than 2,000 register to observe national exam

July 15th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

More than 2,000 volunteers will be deployed to observe students taking the national exam in August, the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) said Monday, with the deadline for registration expiring Tuesday.

More than 93,000 students are registered to sit the August 4 to 5 exam at 154 exam centers across the country, each of which will have a representative of the ACU present, according to Ros Salin, spokesman for the Education Ministry. …

Kuch Naren and Matt Blomberg

Protest leads to second chance on nat’l exams

July 11th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

Amid strict reforms to guard against rampant cheating on the high-stakes national exam, education officials yesterday showed surprising leniency towards underperforming grade 12 students.

In a notice released yesterday, the Ministry of Education instructed upper secondary schools to hold re-examinations for grade 12 students who failed semester tests. The redo will allow students a second shot at qualifying for the national exam – the Kingdom’s sole factor in determining college eligibility.

The last-minute change of heart was prompted by a Kampong Thom high school, where a third of the grade 12 class failed to achieve the passing two-semester average of at least 25 out of 50. …

Chhay Channyda and Laignee Barron

Cambodia Should Produce More Quality Human Resources, Rather Than Quantity

July 10th, 2014 , The Cambodia Herald

Cambodia has more labour forces than the jobs created every year. Hence, some students who have just graduated from the university can’t find jobs; they need some time to get jobs. Some young people have to sell their labour abroad. Despite the surplus of labour forces, this country still lacks quality human resources. …

Each year approximately 20.000 young people newly enter the job market in this poor Cambodia. Some of them can get the jobs right away but some have to wait for about one or two years. Some other people can’t have decent, full-time jobs. Owing to the lack of jobs and the low rate of salary of jobs in Cambodia, thousands of Khmer workers have decided to leave their hometowns and find jobs in other countries both legally and illegally. However, thousands of other Khmer young people are still jobless today. …

The Cambodia Herald News Staff

Transparency NGO pulls out as exam monitor

July 10th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

Transparency International (TI) Cambodia on Wednesday announced it would not be dispatching observers to independently monitor the National High School Exams on August 4 and 5 after the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) and Education Ministry said they would not allow reserve observers at exam halls.

TI says its internal policies require the organization to dispatch reserve observers in case those registered are unable to work on exam day. Education officials, however, say they need to have an exact list of names as to who will be observing on the day. …

Lauren Crothers

Barred from exam, grade 12s protest

July 9th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

Fifty-two students in Kampong Thom are blaming teacher favouritism and an inherently unequal system for preventing them from sitting the national exam and graduating this year.

The students, from Hun Sen Taing Kork High School in Baray district, filed a petition to the provincial department of education requesting permission to sit the diploma-qualifying test on August 4 and 5 even though they failed their grade. …

Chhay Channyda

Disability initiatives launched as jobs quota not met

July 7th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

For Cambodians with disabilities, the launch of two major initiatives in the past two days designed to improve their lives has brought some optimism about the future—tempered by a note of caution.

At Koh Pich island on Thursday, in front of a crowd of more than 2,000 people, including many with disabilities, Prime Minister Hun Sen unveiled a five-year National Disability Strategic Plan (NDSP) consisting of 10 goals to promote the rights of disabled persons.

These included poverty reduction, the elimination of discrimination, improved access to education, participation in politics and equitable healthcare.

The promulgation of the NDSP was followed by the launch on Friday of a program—funded by the Australian government in conjunction with the U.N.—that will see $13.1 million poured into the disability sector over the next five years. …

Holly Robertson

Solo act taking its toll

June 18th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

It was difficult enough for Savoeurn Dimang when, until a month ago, he was one of just three teachers running the local primary school in Kors Kralor district’s Samrong Leu village.

But now, with one teacher having left for South Korea and the other bowing out for health reasons, the 32-year-old has been left to single-handedly teach four classes across six grades. In all, he is responsible for the education of 124 students. …

Though Dimang’s situation is extreme, a lack of teachers in Cambodia’s primary schools is common. In 2012, there was only one teacher per 48.5 primary school students nationwide, the 16th-highest ratio among all countries monitored by UNESCO globally.

Phak Seangly

Cambodia tells university students to prepare for ASEAN community

June 12th, 2014 , The Philippine Star

Cambodia organized a seminar on Thursday to promote ASEAN awareness to approximately 3,300 students from 26 universities and told them to prepare themselves for an ASEAN community. …

“There will be both opportunities and challenges for Cambodia when ASEAN becomes a community at the end of next year,” Hor Namhong said. “Therefore, it is essential for all of you to prepare yourselves for the ASEAN community.”

He said the challenges Cambodia faces include human resources, lack of skilled labor, socio-economic development, and connectivity.

The Philippine Star News Staff

US promotes child nutrition and development in Cambodia

June 10th, 2014 , The Cambodia Herald

U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Jeff Daigle visited In Komar Primary School in Kampong Thom province today to highlight a $20 million U.S. government school feeding program funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and implemented by the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP), according to a press statement released by the US Embassy today. …

The Cambodia Herald News Staff

Hot Breakfast Program Helps Students

June 10th, 2014 , VOA Khmer

Tuesday morning, not long after dawn, a line of students formed outside En Komar Primary School, in Kampong Thom province. Students were waiting to receive breakfast from their teachers.

The breakfasts are part of a World Food Program initiative that aims to feed 3.5 million students by 2016.

So far, the program feeds about 150,000 primary school students, with help from a US grant of $20 million, in the provinces of Battambang, Kampong Thom and Siem Reap. …

Khoun Theara

A failure to communicate

June 5th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

At the beginning of the school year, Mony Vutha was handed a new, mandatory addition to the grade four curriculum that neither he nor any of his colleagues were trained to teach: English.

Vutha’s two years of English lessons more than a decade ago made him the only teacher at Mondulkiri’s Poula Primary School who could even read the new textbook.

“This is the first time English has been introduced in primary school. I have never taught English before,” he said, adding that he has no idea how the other grade four teachers at his school could possibly implement the new language requirement. …

Laignee Barron and Khouth Sophak Chakrya

Private schools to face tougher regulations

June 3rd, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

The Ministry of Education is drafting two sub-decrees on private educational institutions aimed at improving regulation of the nation’s vast body of private schools.

The sub-decree on Organization and Management of Private Schools and sub-decree on Categorization of Private Schools have been sent to a range of institutions for input before the ministry finalizes the drafts and sends them to the Council of Ministers, said Sorn Senghok, director of the legislation department of the Ministry of Education. …

Phorn Bopha

Classroom talk remains barrier

May 30th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

Sgnoun Vita can’t communicate with most of her kindergarten students. She teaches them colours and numbers, but can’t understand their questions or chatter.

Most of Vita’s students at the Kater Primary School in Ratanakkiri’s O’Yadav district speak Jarai, one of Cambodia’s 24 ethnic minority languages. …

A study by International Cooperation Cambodia last year found that only 63 per cent of primary school students in Mondulkiri and 33 per cent in Ratanakkiri were attending some form of education. …

Laignee Barron and Mom Kunthear

Education ministry urged to investigate corruption in Oddor Meanchey school

May 27th, 2014 , The Cambodia Herald

The Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association (CITA) called on Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports to investigate Tropang Brasat’s education officials who was accused of corruption.

In a letter today to Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron, CITA said it received anonymous letters from teachers in Tropang Brasat district of Oddor Meanchey province, accusing school master, project coordinator and other education officials there of committing corruption of 39 million Riel. …

The Cambodia Herald News Staff

Pupils blamed for illegal books

May 23rd, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

Education officials yesterday shifted the onus of pirated and illegally sold state textbooks onto students, faulting the teenage pupils for fuelling demand.

“If there are no buyers, there will be no sellers,” Lim Sotharith, director of the Education Ministry’s textbook department, said during a forum on secondary school textbook shortages.

“You are also responsible for the illegal sale of the books – don’t buy them,” he told the room of high-school students. …

Laignee Barron and Chhay Channyda

Benefits for teachers? Not yet

May 20th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

The government has a response to teachers’ request for health insurance: We’ll provide it if you buy it.

At a meeting in Takeo province this past weekend, the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association (CITA) said an upcoming teacher strike would include health insurance on the list of demands in addition to the repeated call for a salary increase to $250 a month.

The Minister of Education yesterday suggested instead of striking for insurance, teachers could join a group plan through the ministry and pay $10 a month for coverage. …

Laignee Barron and Mom Kunthear

Teachers who claimed graft told to keep quiet

May 20th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

Teachers in Oddar Meanchey province, who last week accused dis­trict education officials of stealing their salaries, were on Monday threatened with expulsion for talking to the media, a teachers union said.

The Anlong Veng district education director summoned about 15 teachers and school officials to the district office to deliver the threat.

“This morning, the district and provincial education officials told us that if we speak to the media, we could be removed from the teacher list,” said Nhorn Sarun, a representative of the Cambodian Indepen­dent Teachers Association (CITA) and a teacher at Anlong Veng Primary School, where 17 teachers complained of being shortchanged on overtime payments. …

Ben Sokhean

Overtime at school goes unpaid

May 16th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

Six months after the government announced that bank accounts for all civil servants would put an end to late salaries and rampant graft, secondary school teachers in Prey Veng say they are owed long overdue payments.

In addition to their regular salary, which they already received, the Kampong Trabek district teachers earn 2,600 riel per hour for classroom time logged outside their regular school day, according to Pov To, chief academic officer of Kampong Trabek district. But the extra cash hasn’t been handed out since October. …

Laignee Barron and Sen David