A teachers’ union has accused education officials in Oddar Meanchey province’s Anlong Veng district of stealing 21 million riel, or about $5,200, that had been slated as overtime payments for primary school teachers.
In a letter sent to the Education Ministry on Monday, the Cambodia Independent Teachers Association (CITA) alleges that the Anlong Veng district education office, which disburses the payments from the provincial education office, failed to pay some teachers and used the names of others to illegitimately draw funds.
“This is corruption and it affects the quality of education in Cambodia,” said Rong Chhun, the president of the CITA.
“We copy this letter to the prime minister’s cabinet and the Anti-Corruption Unit and we ask Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron to take action.”
Teachers receive a base salary of about $100 a month, but in areas where staffing levels are low—such as Anlong Veng district—some teachers work double shifts and are paid the extra overtime every six months.
Some teachers at Anlong Veng Primary School say they did not receive their six months worth of overtime, which amounted to up to $600 each, while others, such as Svay Lim, claim they received overtime payments not due to them, which were then confiscated by district education officials.
“I teach only in the morning but I got paid for working double,” Mr. Lim said.
“After I got the money, they came to my house to take it back. I asked them, ‘why did you steal my name to get the money?’ but they just took the money away with no explanation.”
Mr. Naron, the Education Minister, said Tuesday that he had yet to look into the complaint but records at the provincial education department should support or dispel the allegations.
“The head of the provincial education department signs the mandate to pay the money down to district level,” Mr. Naron said.
“They should work together to make sure teachers are getting paid properly but when cases like this happen, for example, I can get involved.”