PM: Thinning Ranks Way To Boost Teachers’ Pay

The only way to increase the salaries of Cambodia’s poorly paid teachers is to cut their numbers and use the money saved to boost the incomes of those who remain, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Wed­nesday.

But such an action would spawn further illiteracy in Cam­bodia, the prime minister said during a graduation ceremony for Bud­dhist monks at Phnom Penh’s Chak­tomuk Theater.

“The words shouted by the op­position always call for an increase in salaries for teachers,” Hun Sen said.

“It, therefore, would be very easy to increase if we reduced the cur­rent amount of teachers and kept only 10,000, and we kept only 500,000 students. But we dare not do that because the number of il­literate people will increase,” he said.

Though it has more than 90,000 teachers on the payroll, the Mi­n­istry of Education says some 20,000 more are needed.

Cambodian Independent Teach­ers’ Association Deputy President Heng You said Wednesday there were not enough teachers to meet the demand and many were in need of a long-overdue pay rise.

“Teachers have been living with low salaries for too long,” she said, adding that reducing the number of teach­ers in order to increase sa­laries is not an acceptable policy.

“The government should find a way and a strategy to increase sa­lar­ies for teachers,” Heng You said. “It needs to be solved immediately.”

With average class sizes of some 50 students, there is also a need for the gov­ernment to hire more teachers, she said.

“It is bad for both students and teachers,” she added.


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