Forum Stresses Family’s Role In Education

Eleven-year-old Chay Puthear­ith laments that a number of his friends and other school boys aren’t well disciplined by their parents, and take flirting with girls and playing games more seriously than going to class.

He also pointed out that “parents are important for children’s learning,” a sentiment echoed by teachers and school officials who attended a public forum on education held Thursday.

Chay Puthearith was one of  two child participants in the fo­rum sponsored by the Center for Social Development, and is ranked first in his class.

CPP lawmaker Hour Sry, a former Sisowath high school head­mas­ter, agreed with the 11-year-old, saying parents should play an important role in educating their children. But Hour Sry said that most pay little at­tention to the education of their children.

According to his estimation, no more than 10 percent of parents monitor their children’s education. He listed the three factors affecting children’s motivations for a good education as “family, school and society.”

Many speakers complained that teachers demand money from students. They said such bribery presents problems for poor pupils who find it difficult to come up with the funds.

“Paying the teachers made my children’s education unaffordable,” said a Phnom Penh widow and mother of seven. “I stopped my daughters from continuing studies despite their pleas.”

Some teachers denied taking bribes, but others admitted that they collect fees because they are so badly paid. All teachers de­man­ded that the government raise their $20 a month salary.

Participants also attacked the government and the Education Ministry for not paying enough at­­­­tention to education reform. One official from the ministry at­tended the forum.

“The government leaders have done little work to help improve the declining quality of teaching and learning because they think increased education hinders their control of the people,” said Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Sam Sundoeun.

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