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Parents hurting from informal school fees

PHNOM Penh parents have accused some city teachers of charging their children ever-increasing amounts for education, doubling informal fees from 500 riels (US$0.12) to 1,000 riels per day.

Kim Hean, who has two sons studying at Tuol Svay Prey High School, complained that her son’s teacher was forcing her children to pay daily sums in exchange for their lessons.

“I paid only 500 riels per day for my first son when he was in grade 3 … but now I have to pay more than double for my second son who is learning in the same class,” she said.

Oung Bunoun, 12, a third- grader at Tuol Svay Prey, said students have to pay money to their teachers, and that if they don’t, they will receive lower grades.

A teacher from Phnom Penh’s Anuvath primary school, who declined to be named, said Monday that she has to collect money from her students because she cannot feed her family with the salary provided.

“It’s not only me that takes money from them but also the other teachers. So why can’t I?,” she said.

Chea Cheat, president of the Municipal Department of Education, acknowledged that the department allows teachers to take money from students but said it would take action against any school that forces students to pay more than 500 riels.

“If any teacher behaves illegally, we will remove him,” he said, adding that teachers have never been allowed to take money from poor students.

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