CITA Files Suit Alleging Gender Discrimination

The Cambodia Independent Teachers Association has filed what is believed to be the first gender-bias complaint ever filed with the Ministry of Education.

In a letter sent on Monday to Minister of Education Kol Pheng, the association accused Kandal prov­ince schoolmaster Chhy Kong of unfairly choosing men over women for deputy school­mas­ter positions.

The complaint, stamped with the thumbprints of 183 teachers and students at Hun Sen Sa’ang High School, requested immediate intervention from top officials to appoint at least one female deputy schoolmaster.

“There is one male schoolmaster and four deputy schoolmasters who are male,” CITA President Rong Chhun said.

“They cannot understand the difficulties of female students and teachers. We need to improve gender equity,” Rong Chhun said.

Ngeap Pyseth, Sa’ang High School mathematics teacher, was the first teacher to thumbprint the complaint. He said Chhy Kong and the four other deputy schoolmasters are not good leaders, and that they paid little attention to helping female teachers and students.

Heng You, a geography and history teacher, alleged that one unnamed deputy schoolmaster, who was recently appointed by the provincial education department, was verbally abusive when asked for help in bringing about gender equity in the school administration.

Chhy Kong denied all accusations of gender bias at the school, saying that the appointment of deputy schoolmasters was not his decision becasue officials at the provincial education department chose the candidates.

“If I am not good, the ministry will remove or fire me before long,” Chhy Kong said of his ten­ure as principal. “I have been in this position for 20 years and I have also received a golden medal from the government for good, hard work as well.”

Chea Se, Undersecretary of State for the Education Ministry, said he received original copies of the complaint on Feb 16, when he visit­ed the school.


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