Teacher Union Leader Claims Bias on Salary

A teachers’ union leader claims the government is refusing to give promotions to teachers who have protested against the government.

Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Independent Teach­ers Association and a mathematics teacher at Hun Sen Sa’ang High School in Kandal province, said the government hasn’t given him a raise for nine years because he led a failed campaign to raise teacher salaries in Feb­ruary.

“I have not received a raise because the government thought I led a lot of protests against the government and they accuse me of being a member of the opposition party,” Rong Chhun said. “My last promotion was in 1995—all my friends, physics and philosophy teachers, have received three promotions.”

Rong Chhun said he began teaching in 1993, earn­ing $26.75 a month. After two years, he received his first and only raise to $28.75. “Every two years the school director [takes my] request for a promotion, but my requests are forgotten,” he said.

Chhay Aun, general director of the administrative and finance department at the Ministry of Education, said it is the job of the school director to propose pay increases for teachers. He said  teachers also get promotions if they follow school regulations, participate in the school activities, and have good solidarity with students and the community.

Chhay Aun did not specifically address Rong Chhun’s complaints but said that he respected the suggestions of school directors and stressed the need for teachers to remain politically neutral. Since the government has tentatively decided to cut military spending and proposed an in­crease to the education budget, Rong Chhun said the government should be able to afford to pay teachers more.

An official from the Ministry of Finance said the government has doubled the budget for education in the last five years while they have cut RCAF’s funds in half since 1994. Chhay Aun said teachers nationwide will receive pay increases for next year.

 

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