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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Students walk out over course changes

Students walk out over course changes

Students walk out over course changes

P

ROTESTING second year economics students have refused to attend classes for the

last two weeks due to a curriculum change at the Institute of Economics which

has effectively demoted them to first year level.

The deputy director of

the Institute, Yok Ngoy, said: "The economics course has been reduced from five

to four years, we amended the curriculum to make it more modern. The second year

students are now first year students according to the new system."

On the

first day of their strike about 200 students gathered in front of the Institute

demanding they not be included with the first year students. They were looking

to the Ministry of Education to solve the dispute.

A student, who asked

not to be named, said: "We have already studied for one year. How can we join

students at a lower level, it is not fair. The system is discouraging us to

study by throwing us in with students a year below us."

He said: "We are

also complaining because we have less teaching staff due to a split in the

faculty last year while first year student numbers have now doubled due to this

change."

Ngoy said: "In 1993 the faculty split into the Economics faculty

assisted by the French, and the Commerce faculty funded by Asia foundation with

the assistance of George- town University. Many former economics teachers

transferred to the Commerce faculty."

Ngoy said the Minister of

education, Ung Huot, had asked the students to resume classes promising he would

resolve their problems by the second week of June, but the students ignored his

request.

A fourth year student, Keo Sunsodany, said: "We are going

crazy. In first year we studied socialism, we had Vietnamese teachers and the

language.

"The next year we studied free market economics and French

accounting, we had French teachers and learnt the French language. Now we study

marketing, business and American accounting, we have Khmer teachers from the US

and we study English.

"We are unlucky students, we have no good subjects

and no good teachers."

The French Embassy coordinator of assistance to

the Economics Faculty, Lionel Vairon, Attaché de Cooperation, said: "I very much

regret this because we have already taught the students for a year. But we

cannot do anything, it is up to the government to solve the problem."

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