Gov’t Begins Distributing Back Pay to Teachers

After a two-month wait, the government has begun distributing back pay to the nation’s teachers, education officials said Monday.

“We have telephoned the financial departments in the provinces and asked them to pay teachers,” said Chhay Aun, Ministry of Edu­cation general director of administration and finance.

However, some teachers, who haven’t been paid in the last two months, will receive only one month’s back pay, depending on pro­vincial budgets, Chhay Aun said.

Officials have said the pay was delayed because the government was trying to reform the pay scale. Authorities have decided to increase pay for classroom teachers, as opposed to teachers working in school administration.

Right now, education officials are working on ways to ease the transition so current teachers do not lose their wages, Chhay Aun said.

Teacher groups and education activist groups have appealed to the government to speed up the reform process so teachers can get paid.

“Mr Prime Minister,” Edu­cation International General Di­rector Fred van Leeuwen wrote in an open letter to Hun Sen, “we urge you to order the immediate settlement of all salary arrears due to teachers.”

Back pay is not the only issue to capture activists’ attention. The Cambodian Independent Teach­er’s Union says some teachers still have not been paid in full for contracts signed in 1997.

In his latest visit to Cambodia last month, UN Special Repre­sentative Peter Leuprecht repeated his call for education reform, including raising salaries for educators. In his open letter, van Leeu­wen said he shared Leu­precht’s feelings.

“We call on you to take the relevant authorities and meet with CITA leaders to try and reach an agreement on salary issues, and discuss any other issues of concern to education personnel,” van Leeuwen wrote.


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