The Cambodia Independent Teachers Association is calling on the government to use the majority of the increase in the nation’s education budget for 2001 to boost teacher salaries.
The proposed 2001 budget includes a 22 percent hike for education to $58.8 million. But Pok Than, secretary of state for the Ministry of Education, said Tuesday that none of that money is budgeted for across-the-board teacher raises.
Pok Than did say that some primary school and junior high teachers who have heavier class schedules would receive some bonus money. But most of the extra budget money is targeted for student scholarships, school materials and infrastructure.
CITA continues to insist it will go on strike Feb 1 if monthly wages aren’t increased from a sliding scale of $7.70 to $25.60, based on the size of the teacher’s family, to a flat monthly pay of $102.40.
The association claims to have 400 members in Phnom Penh and in the provinces of Preah Vihear, Battambang, Kampot and Kompong Cham.
CITA is asking all government servants, soldiers and policemen to join in the walkout. The union claims if they get the raise, teachers will discontinue the unpopular practice of charging students $0.08 to $0.13 a day for lesson materials.
CITA chairman Rong Chhun said 5,000 copies of the union’s appeal for a raise will be distributed to teachers next week.
“If we hear a suitable resolution from the government by the middle of this month, we will not [strike],” Rong Chhun said.