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Forums to help guide learning

Beginning this year, all public schools will be required to conduct regularly scheduled forums designed to function as a sounding board between teachers, parents and students, officials said yesterday.

The meetings will encourage dialogue about what is and isn’t working in Cambodian schools, Education Minister Hang Chuon Narong said.

“These working groups will allow a public forum for parents and students to talk about what they want to correct in schools,” Narong said, adding that the number of meetings that schools will be required to conduct would be determined by their individual schedules.

In an announcement made on Tuesday following an annual ministry meeting in the capital, Phnom Penh municipal governor Pa Socheatvong said the forums could begin as soon as this month.

“The public forums will help find the negative points in the education sector with the help of parents and students,” he said.

Chhum Sarom, director of Wat Koh High School in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district, commended efforts to create an environment in which educators, students and parents could work together.

“And the school can also explain the progress [being made by] their children or tell parents if a student has been absent,” he said.

The idea of regular updates on her daughter’s progress at school was warmly welcomed by Sin Sitha, the mother of a student at Wat Koh.

“Parents don’t dare to correct teachers or school programs and these forums will let me know about my daughter’s studies and what’s going on,” Sitha said.

This is the second reform being championed this year by newly appointed Chuon Narong, who is charged with improving a frequently criticised education system.

In early January, in an attempt to crack down on rampant cheating on nationwide testing, the ministry announced that teachers will begin individually writing final exams on the white board.

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