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Educators trade insults

Officials in Kampong Cham province traded bitter accusations yesterday in a bureaucratic argument engulfing the province’s education department. 

Sim Kimsan, director of the National Education for Development Association and a representative of Kampong Cham teachers, filed a complaint to the provincial court and the Ministry of Education yesterday accusing Eang Thaihong, the deputy bureau chief of education in Chamkar Leu district, of extortion, slander and forgery.  

He claimed that since taking up the position in February this year, the deputy bureau chief had leveled crude insults at various education officials and coerced the directors of more than 40 district schools into giving him money.  “Eang Thaihong also faked his high-school diploma so that he could be promoted from a secondary school teacher to deputy bureau chief,” he said.  The deputy bureau chief fired back, dismissing Sim Kimsan as “jealous” of his new position.

“On July 20, Sim Kimsan tried to bludgeon me with a chair during an official meeting, but I wasn’t injured because others stepped in to help me,” he said.

The two had never argued before, he said, adding that Sim Kimsan had only started “making problems” for him after he received the promotion.

Eang Thaihong denied allegations of extortion and defamation, but admitted to having not completed high school.  

“Sim Kimsan has defamed and was condescending  to me, but I don’t want to fight with him,” he said.

Sim Kimsan is also claiming that the provincial director of education promoted Eang Thaihong without the required permission from the Ministry of Education.

“I want the ministry to punish this official under the law and investigate other officials who may be involved in the case,” he said.

Svay Phalla, Kampong Cham provincial director of education, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Independent Teacher’s Association, said yesterday that the process of promotion in the education sector can be fraught with infighting and corruption.

“These problems persist because leaders in the education system are incompetent,” he said.

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