The Siem Reap provincial department of education, youth and sports overruled a decision by the director of the provincial teachers training center to ban two outspoken teachers-in-training from their upcoming final exam after a successful protest by about 250 of their peers Tuesday.
Vin Savy, 21, and Sinh Lyhong, 20, who are enrolled in a two-year teacher training program, spoke out against Niev Ora, the director of their training center, in February, accusing him on the radio of forcing teachers-in-training to work as night security guards for the center.
Mr. Savy said since then, Mr. Ora has repeatedly ridiculed them and, on June 26, informed them they were barred from the July 4 final exam, the last step to becoming teachers.
“The director was not happy when we talked to the media,” said Mr. Savy. “So he accused us of not wearing proper uniforms to ban us from the exam. It was wrong.”
About 250 of the two teachers’ colleagues protested Mr. Ora’s decision outside the training center Tuesday, forcing Ung Sireidy, director of the department of education, youth and sports, to call Mr. Ora for a meeting.
“We decided to put their names back on the exam list because after we checked on the students’ mistake, we saw it was not much of a mistake,” Mr. Sireidy said.
“I’m still checking whether the leader of the school [Mr. Ora] punished the students for speaking with the media or not,” he added.
Mr. Ora remained defiant when contacted Tuesday, defending his actions and lashing out at the provincial education department for overruling him.
“Those students had the wrong habits with their uniform and did not respect the regulations of the school,” said Mr. Ora.
He said the teachers-in-training were wearing flip-flops in the school when they were supposed to be wearing dress shoes, a claim the student’s deny.
“I’ve worked for more than 30 years in education,” said Mr. Ora. “I educated a lot of students and I know students’ characteristics.”