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Principal clears suspended teacher

Students walk through the grounds of Baktouk High School. After protesting last week, teachers on Tuesday agreed to return to the school.

Last of five teachers accused of overcharging students agrees to return to school on Friday.

THE head of a Phnom Penh primary school has written a letter clearing a teacher who was accused of overcharging her students, paving the way for the last of five formerly suspended instructors to return to work Friday, school officials said.

Yim Sokheng, the headmaster at Baktouk Primary School in the capital’s Prampi Makara district, said he wrote a letter confirming that officials found no evidence that teacher Yaung Sovannarith broke any school regulations.

The school had suspended a total of five teachers after accusations that they were charging students informal fees of up to 1,500 riels (US$0.36) each day.

The Ministry of Education permits teachers to charge 500 riels per day.

The school reinstated the teachers this week, but Yaung Sovannarith refused to return unless authorities officially cleared her name.
The teacher expressed relief on Tuesday after receiving the letter.

“The letter will prove that I am a pure person and will bring me back my dignity as a teacher,” she said.

The teacher’s sister, however, criticised school authorities for suspending her in the first place.

“They investigated her three times, and the results showed that my sister did not do anything wrong at all,” said Yaung Sovannarin. “But they still suspended my sister, which was an unusual act.”

Demanding money from students is a breach of the teachers’ code of conduct, said Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association. But teachers resort to asking for money because their salaries – $35 to $50 a month – are inadequate, he said.

“Some teachers have been forced to look for other ways of making money, like selling snacks or looking for other jobs for extra income,” he said.



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