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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Lovestruck high schoolers neglect studies, skip classes

Lovestruck high schoolers neglect studies, skip classes

Official blames increasing truancies on students wanting to spend more time with boyfriends, girlfriends rather than at school

MORE and more Cambodian high school

students are playing hooky, as they pay more attention to their love

lives than their studies.

Even though he knows it impacts his schoolwork, 19-year-old Chan Virak,

who is in the 12th grade at Preah Sisovat High School, said he usually

spends more time thinking about his girlfriend than studying.

"I have had a girlfriend since I was in the 10th grade, but I don't let

my parents know as I don't want them to stop me or blame me. Sometimes

I don't feel like taking an exam or studying when my girlfriend calls

me to go for a walk. I have to miss school to go with her, and if I

don't go she will be angry with me," Chan Virak said.

Doing what they want to do

Hoy Sochivanny, coordinator of the Committee on the Elimination of

Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), said parents didn't realise the

extent of truancy for love.

"Now there are a lot of young students who are crazy about love and are

going out without thinking about their studying," she said.

"Before, all high school students paid attention to their studies, but

now they don't care about their schoolwork. I think now they think they

know more about their rights, and some students say it is their right

to do what they want. It will only become more difficult if we do not

educate or pay attention to them," Hoy Sochivanny  said.

Twenty-two-year-old Srey Moa said she had boyfriends when she was at high school and found this interfered with her schoolwork.

"I came to school every day but I rarely entered the class and

preferred to go for a walk with my boyfriend. I loved my boyfriend more

than study because love made me happier," she said.

There are a lot of young students who are crazy about love without thinking....

Keo Lay, 19, who studies in 11th grade at Preah

Sisovat also spends a lot of time with his girlfriend, but Keo Lay

thinks that being in love as a student is not bad and doesn't

necessarily have a negative impact.
"I think it is not bad to be in love when you are a student because it

can change you for the better. Before I always missed class, but since

I have had a girlfriend for a year, I have changed. Having a sweetheart

helps us to solve our problems together.

"It does not affect my studies because I concentrate on my studies and

schedule the time to make a date with her on the weekends," he said.

Hoy Sochivanny said CEDAW has plans to educate parents through

television and radio as well as work with schools to pay greater

attention to students' attendance.

"I think it is very difficult to try and make them change their habits

or feelings towards study, but we will try our best to change them to

be better students."

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