Border Fighting Prompts 180 School Closures

More than 180 Cambodian primary, secondary and high schools in the seven provinces along the Thai border closed temporarily af­ter last week’s skirmish at Preah Vihear temple, according to local officials.

In Choam Ksan, the district that includes Preah Vihear temple, 20 schools—16 primary schools, three secondary schools and one high school—remain closed, according to Preah Vihear provincial education department director Horn Chhan.

“I was concerned that those schools could not complete the sched­uled program,” he said. “We will wait for better conditions before we reopen the school doors.”

He added that he had not yet in­formed families when the schools would reopen, but he said that when they do, class hours would be extended to make up lost time.

In Banteay Meanchey province, 89 schools in four border districts—Malai, O’Chrou, Svay Chek and Thma Puok—closed tempor­arily after the fighting, according to provincial education department director Phleng Saroth.

The schools will reopen today, he said, adding that he expects only 30 percent of the students will actually show up.

In Oddar Meanchey province, 50 schools in four border districts—Trapaing Prasat, Samraong, An­long Veng and Banteay Ampil—closed after the fighting, according to provincial education department director Ing Borath.

“I am really worried about the cur­rent situation,” Ing Borath said. “I do not know when the schools will function normally because some people fled far away to their home­lands, like in Kompong Cham or Kompong Thom,” he said.

In Battambang province, 10 schools in Kamrieng district, eight schools in Phnom Proek district, and five schools in Sampov Loun district were closed, according to provincial education department director Mao Moeu.

He added that he expects attendance to return to normal within the next few days.

In Pailin municipality, as well as Pursat and Koh Kong provinces, schools were not seriously affected by the fighting, according to Pailin municipality education department director Tang Theara, Pursat dep­uty police chief Sy Kiry and Koh Kong Governor Yuth Phouthang.

“The people in this area did not worry so much because municipal authorities kept the people in­formed of the real situation,” Tang Theara said.

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