Disgruntled Nursing Students Petition Parliament

About 20 nursing students from the privately run International Science Institute petitioned the National Assembly on Wednesday to demand action against their school, which they claim is unlicensed and providing them with a substandard education.

The school opened in 2012 and currently has about 160 students, according to its director Hak Channy, who said Chea Sam Ath—the daughter of CPP President Chea Sim—owns it.

Nursing students from the International Science Institute in Phnom Penh stand outside the National Assembly, where they submitted a petition Wednesday calling on lawmakers to spur the government into taking action against their unlicensed school. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily )
Nursing students from the International Science Institute in Phnom Penh stand outside the National Assembly, where they submitted a petition Wednesday calling on lawmakers to spur the government into taking action against their unlicensed school. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily )

Than Ratha, 25, a second-year nursing student, said he represents about 40 students who want lawmakers to help force their school into compliance so they can become medical professionals.

“Officials told us in a meeting [in December] at City Hall with health and education officials that [the institute] does not have a license, but still they have done nothing,” Mr. Ratha said.

“We want the National Assembly to push the Institute to get a license,” he added. “And to make arrangements for us to get training in public hospitals.”

Currently, nursing students at the International Science Institute complete a three-year program, which does not include public hospital training, and then must spend more time at another school in order to qualify to work for the government, Mr. Ratha said.

“We are worried that we will lose our futures because other schools won’t recognize our training from the institute,” he said.

Mr. Channy, the Institute’s director, said the school does in fact have a license from the Health Ministry, but acknowledged it did not have one from the Education Ministry.

“If we weren’t recognized by the Health Ministry, we would have been shut down,” he said. “We already have this license, so why should we need one from the Education Ministry?”

But Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron said that without a license from his ministry, the school was “operating illegally.”

“We already have one [public] university of health sciences, so if we allow more, we worry that the teachers who teach will not do a good job educating the students,” he said.

“I never received any request from the International Science Institute for a license; they are operating illegally.”

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