The Phnom Penh municipal education department is making stricter rules for students and teachers that aim to increase the quality of the public education system, director Um Hoeurng said Tuesday.
Absences and tardiness during the school day—from 7 to 11 am and 2 to 5 pm—will not be tolerated, he said during a conference on the new school rules.
Teachers will also be reminded that accepting payments from students and using school days to give private tutoring lessons is not acceptable, he said.
Parents often complain about both problems, Um Hoeurng said.
“The restriction mainly focus on the schedule for teaching time and eliminating the improper activity of some teacher in order to strengthen the quality of public schools.”
Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodia Independent Teacher’s Association, said he agrees with having stricter rules but that real reform requires higher salaries that can cover a teacher’s cost of living.
“Teachers respect rules more than others. If salaries increased, everything would be fine,” he said, noting that problems arise because teachers are sometimes forced to bend the rules to make enough money to support their families.
Pov Socheath, a geography teacher at Bun Rany Hun Sen Wat Phnom High School, said she was skeptical about the effect of the new rules on either good timekeeping or payments to teachers.
She said the best way to strengthen the quality of public education was by giving more money to teachers. She is among the many teachers who work second jobs to make ends meet, she admitted.
“Salaries are the best solution to strengthen and maintain the quality of the public schools,” she said.
“When the teachers have
enough salary, they will pay more attention to teaching and reduce their part-time work.”