Ministry Targets Campus Crime, Corruption

The Ministry of Education is working to implement a directive to all schools aimed at stopping corruption and helping curb youth crime, officials say.

The directive, issued in Oc­tober, orders provinces and towns to form committees of local of­ficials to oversee schools and hold them accountable to their responsibilities.

But the committees have not yet been formed be­cause officials have been very busy, Ly Somony, the ministry’s director of general inspection, said on Sunday.

The directive orders schools to put measures in place to prevent several common practices among teachers, including using state time to teach private lessons—often charging high rates for private “study sessions” for those students who can afford them—as well as forcing students to pay un­of­ficial “fees” or bring gifts.

In addition, the directive states that schools are responsible for creating a safe environment—elim­inating gang hangouts, vandalism, gambling and megaphone use on their grounds.

Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Independent Teach­ers’ Association, praised the directive  but said it will be difficult to put into practice unless the government increases pay for teachers.

“Teachers only charge students money because they can’t afford to live on their salaries,” he said.

Earlier this month, more than 300 teachers, led by Rong Chhun, demonstrated for higher salaries in front of the National Assembly.

The teachers’ union claims it has faced threats and harassment as it tries to rally nationwide support.


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