The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Friday rejected the findings of a disparaging survey released last week by the Cambodian Independent Teach-ers’ Association, saying its results were biased and inaccurate.
Published in Friday’s edition of the Khmer-language newspaper Kampuchea Thmey, a ministry statement questioned the methodology of the report, which claimed a number of problems with the country’s education system, including poor pay, high dropout rates and the quality of instruction from teachers. The statement, which was unsigned and attributed only to the Ministry of Education, said department statistics paint a different picture of education system in Cambodia.
“The questionnaire for the interviews of 460 [teachers] in 9 prov-inces or cities did not represent all teachers in the country,” the statement read.
According to its figures, the ministry said 8.8 percent of primary students, 21.7 percent of secondary students and 14.1 percent of high school students dropped out of school during the 2007-2008 school year. The survey, however, listed the rates at 40.85 percent, 38.55 percent and 32.64 percent, respectively.
Although the report focused on several issues, the government statement addressed only the top-ic of dropout rates among students and did not discuss the reason for the disparity, only saying the poll was “not true.”
The roughly six-month CITA survey was begun in June and carried out in nine provinces and included primary, secondary and high school teachers, CITA Presi-dent Rong Chhun said. Only 2.6 percent of the teachers polled said the education system in Cambo-dia is of good quality.
Rong Chhun said he was saddened by the ministry’s criticism. He said the purpose of the survey was not to simply point out shortcomings within the education system but encourage officials to re-solve them.
“We wanted to report the concerns of Cambodia’ teachers about the education situation in Cambo-dia nowadays,” he said by telephone Sunday. “I think that the ministry does not belong to one individual but it belongs to all.”
Education Ministry spokesman In The declined to comment Sun-day on the statement or CITA’s re-ply, saying that he was too busy to speak to a reporter. Thoung Bor-en, director of the staff department for the ministry, also said he was too busy to speak with a reporter Sunday.