MORE than 40 trainee teachers protested yesterday in front of the National Institute of Education after they were removed from their course following accusations of fraud from the Ministry of Education.
A letter, signed by the ministry’s secretary of state Pith Chamnan on November 5, asked the NIE to remove the 42 education students – who were attempting to take a one-year course to become university teachers – because they were already primary and secondary school teachers and were trying to take an easier entrance exam.
The examination, which took place on September 30, is administered to recent high school graduates and former teachers who are trying to upgrade their credentials.
The Ministry of Education said the fraudulent students purposely didn’t indicate their prior teaching experience in applications as a way of taking an easier entrance exam.
Ang Tith, 26, a representative of the protesters, said the ministry was taking actions against them “without any advanced announcement”.
“The Ministry of Education should have dealt with us before the entrance exam and start of classes,” he said. “This is not proper for us.”
Ang Tith said the protests were aimed at drawing the attention of Prime Minister Hun Sen, who he thought could intervene and bring the students back to their studies. The premier has spoken at multiple graduation ceremonies at the NIE in the past year.
But Roth Huot, deputy director of the National Institute of Education said the decision was made by the ministry “who found these students and ended their studies”.
He said the course started on November 2 with 900 students who passed the examination. One week into the course, the Ministry of Education discovered the 42 students who faked their background information and were currently looking for others.