Cambodia's Independent Civil Servants Association (CICA) has written to the minister of education to request teachers and education officials be given equal access to an exam allowing them to move up the ministry’s pay scale.
The association claims the ministry has made recent changes to a system in place since 2003 that effectively shuts the door on lower-level teachers who had hoped to improve their salaries by sitting the exam.
A set number of places are reserved in each category on the pay scale and are assigned on the basis of exam results.
In a statement sent to Education Minister Im Sethy yesterday, CICA called for the ministry to re-think its July 30 notice that outlined a new stipulation for the November exam that says only education officials already at senior levels, such as vice directors and principals, will be eligible to sit the test.
“Only giving permission for institutional management to sit the exam to upgrade their category/level is a sign of bias and injustice against normal teachers who have tried to increase their capacity by studying for higher [educational] certificates. Now they stand no chance of even sitting the exam,” Kao Poeun, CICA president, said yesterday.
CICA said the changes violated a 2003 sub-decree that gave all civil servants the opportunity to move up the pay scale.
Category “A” teachers – the highest level – enjoy a base salary of close to $125 per month, excluding bonuses and incentives, said Pich Kosal, a teacher at the Phnom Penh Municipal Pedagogy School.
He added the ministry’s new rules would make it easier for more senior officials to obtain the highest basic pay grade.
“Directors or deputy directors at the school may work longer, but they have no higher status. You could say the ministry is helping them sit the exam so they can upgrade their pay level,” he said.