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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Students pay to use toilets

Students pay to use toilets

S TUDENTS of Phnom Penh University's Foreign Language Center are angry because

they are being charged 100 riel each to use the university's two


The toilets are monitored each day by two Khmers - "armed" with

receipt books - employed by the Ministry of Education. Their salaries are

supplemented by AusAid to $50 a month.

The director of the center,

Australian Geoff Coyne, said: "There are 600 students in the Foreign Language

Center, and 2,000 in the entire university. These are the only working


"What would you have us do?"

First-year student Po Pheak

said that students had been told they did not know how to use toilets properly

and that they would be given lessons.

He said it was absurd and unjust

that the center charged for toilet use while all other faculties outside the

university campus - such as medicine, law, commerce and agriculture - allowed

students to use toilets for free.

"We are students. We are unemployed and

poor. We don't have much money. Some of us stay in pagodas and some have very

poor living conditions," students told the Post.

They said the government

should employ one or two staff to be in charge of cleaning the toilet or the

whole building.

"This should be the school charge. The school governor

should be responsible for such a problem," said one student.

The students

said they had filed a complaint to the school director but had so far got no


One of the toilet monitors, Long Sothea, told the Post that on

average 40 students a day paid to use the toilet, but no-one


"Perhaps they think I am innocent," she said.


said the money would be used for buying toilet tissue, towels and soap because

the center wanted to keep the toilet clean and sanitory.

The students

warned that if the matter was not cleared up more problems would happen


The students however, said: "They are going to charge for

everything soon. We heard that they are going to make us pay for using the

library," said one. This issue of the Post reports that Coyne has warned

students that they are soon going to be charged $60 for "self-access"; $60 for

supplies and textbooks; $20 for electricity; $20 for cleaners and ground staff;

and $30 for equipment maintenance

- a grand total of $190 a year.

"We are going to petition the

Ministry of Education about the problem," the students said.



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