Striking Teachers Trickling Back to Classes

Some high school teachers returned to work on Monday because they felt sorry for students who needed to prepare for exams in July.

“We were asked by students and parents to return,” Som Sophala, a teacher at Russei Keo High School, said Monday. “So we decided to delay the strike.” He said the teachers were not being paid extra money by their students or their guardians.

Twenty out of 33 classes were in session at Russei Keo. There were also 10 classes at Boeung Trobak High School, four at Tuol Tumpong High School and 14 classes at Sisowath High School.

Several schools remained on strike Monday including the Royal University of Phnom Penh, Yukhonthor High School, Endra­devi High School, Baktuk High School and Santhor Mok High School, all are in the capital.

Teachers who remain on strike say they are holding out for raises because they cannot continue living on salaries of less than $20 a month.

“If we came back to teach the students, it would kill us,” said one teacher at Baktuk High School.

Teachers at Endradevi, who remained on strike, complained of intimidation from uniformed police officers outside the school and plainclothesmen inside it.

“That made us scared,” said Di Channu, a teacher at the school.

Last week, reports surfaced that some teachers had felt harassed or intimidated because of their activities.

Eva Galabru, director of the human rights group Licadho, said last week that there were reports of heavy police presence in Kompong Chhnang, a strike in Kompong Thom that unexpectedly stopped after one day, and the possible punishment of some teachers in Kandal province. She stressed that her office didn’t have concrete evidence of all the allegations.


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