Teachers Threaten to Retire

Six Banteay Meanchey provincial teachers who claim they were transferred because they exposed corruption in the school system will retire before they accept their new assignments, their leader said Thursday.

The Samdech Euv Secondary School teachers were suspended and transferred to new schools. The group reported for work at the new schools Tues­­day, one day before the dead­line, but will not work again until the government resolves their case, philosophy teacher Sim Sorn said.

“We told the school directors not to make us work because we are waiting to hear a [government resolution],” Sim Sorn said.

School officials say they transferred the teachers because they were insubordinate and had complaints from students’ parents. The teachers claim they are being targeted by vengeful administrators for highlighting school corruption. The teachers were among a group who protested in front of the National Assembly in May.

A government investigation revealed money in the provincial education offices was missing, and dismissed one official for it.

The teachers have written to Prime Minister Hun Sen, National Assembly President Prince Noro­dom Ranariddh and the Ministry of Education, asking each to intervene in their case, Sim Sorn said.

“The statutes on government servants [say] one faces removal if [they have] committed a serious penal offense and has been warn­ed three times by the penal council. But no one has pointed out any of our mistakes to us,” he said.

If the government refuses to intervene on their behalf, the teachers will ask to be put on the retired list, Sim Sorn said.

But one education official said it was unlikely the teachers would get any help in their cause.

Parents of schools had complained about the teachers, which was the impetus for the transfers, Ministry of Education Secretary of State Pok Than said.

The teachers should consider the transfers a second chance, not a punishment, Pok Than added.

“We did not remove them from their teaching role. We just moved them so they could teach in other schools,” he said.


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