The heads of two private higher education institutions in Phnom Penh have been appointed as educational advisers to the Council of Ministers, an adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen said Wednesday.
Heng Vanda, director of the Vanda Accounting Institute, and Duong Leang, rector of Asia Euro University, were both given adviser positions equivalent to undersecretaries of state last week, said Sean Borath, Hun Sen’s adviser on education.
The men join two other private university heads already serving as government advisers: Chea Chamroeun, rector of Chamroeun University of Poly-Technology who advises the government, and In Viracheat, rector of Build Bright University who is an adviser to the Council of Ministers, Sean Borath said.
“The government is gathering people from the private sector to help train human resources,” Sean Borath said.
“These people can provide good ideas to help the government.”
Heng Vanda did not answer repeated phone calls Thursday, while Duong Leang and In Viracheat both said they were too busy to speak to a reporter.
Chea Chamroeun, who has an adviser’s position equivalent to a government minister, said he monitors education and trends among young Cambodians for the government. He added that he is also on call for any “unexpected assignments” from Hun Sen, though he did not elaborate.
Chea Chamroeun said he campaigns in his free time for the CPP, and earns $475 per month as an adviser, but never takes his politics back to the classroom.
“I don’t use my political affiliation to attract students to the CPP,” he said.
The four advisers all earn salaries equal to ministerial employees of the same rank, Sean Borath said.
Tin Sokhuon, director of the State Secretariat of Public Functions’ administration department, said an undersecretary of state’s salary is $350 a month while a minister’s is $525 a month.
Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association, said hiring private sector educators to be government advisers was a move by the CPP to exert control over the education sector.
“It is very extreme. It is such a waste of government money,” he added.