PM Warns Schools Against False Advertising

Prime Minister Hun Sen has warn­ed private higher education in­stitutes that they could be prosecuted if they are found to have exaggerated their credentials in advertising, according to a directive obtained Tues­day.

All publicity for private institutes must from now on be submitted to the Ministry of Education for ap­proval before being advertised in the media, Hun Sen stated in the directive, dated Thursday.

“Any advertisements that are in­appropriate and exaggerate the truth of [an institute’s] educational ser­­vices and its advantages are strongly prohibited. Those abusers of the notice will be punished before the law,” Hun Sen warned.

Once advertisements have been sub­mitted to the ministry, they must be processed within seven working days. If they need to be corrected or in­vestigated further, that time frame can be extended to four weeks, Hun Sen said.

Ministry officials are required to con­tact institutes that advertise without permission, and if the advertising continues, they should be refer­red to the Ministry of Information, the directive states. The education ministry intended to begin monitoring the adverts of all institutes in 2003, but did not have enough staff to do so, said Pok Than, education ministry secretary of state.

The ministry was subsequently unable to return ads to various in­stitutes on time, so it was decided that institutes could advertise without approval, but the ministry re­served the right to stop ads containing false information, he said.

“Schools want the students, so they don’t advertise truthfully,” he add­ed.

Justin Pang, general manager at the English Language Training In­stitute, said he welcomed the directive.

“We have no problems with the censor,” he said, adding that some institutes are falsely claiming to have foreign affiliations to attract more stu­dents. “When they claimed they have foreign connections they can charge more money,” he said.

Rong Chhun, president of the Cam­bodian Independent Teachers’ As­sociation, said private universities tend to be more interested in making money than in education.

“They advertise to absorb students, not to promote quality,” he said.


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