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Teachers' hardship stipend denied

Teachers working in the most remote areas of Oddar Meanchey province have not received any of their promised hardship pay for nine months, the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association said yesterday.

CITA president Rong Chhun yesterday sent a letter to the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Im Sithy, requesting an immediate solution for the teachers, who are entitled to 60,000 riel (about US$15) hardship pay per month and a one-off payment of up to $100 for travel expenses.

“There are over 20 complainants, but many provincial teachers have not received the money. The lateness of payment affects the living condition of the teachers and can cause them not to conduct teaching in the remote area,” Rong Chhun said.

The hardship pay is in addition to the base salary of teachers teaching in areas of Oddar Meanchey classified by the government as remote. CITA estimates that an elementary teacher is entitled to an extra $50, while junior and high school teachers are entitled to between $75 and $100 extra when they agree to teach in remote areas.

Ung Borat, director of the province’s education department, admitted that the department had not paid the teachers their travel allowance or the remote-area bonus, because the province had not been allocated these monies under the national budget from the Ministry of Economics and Finance.

“Our accountant section has no money to pay [them], because the ministry annulled our [budget] proposal without reason,” Ung Borat said.

Rong Chhun flew to Switzerland on Monday to attend a meeting at the International Labour Organization.

He said he will raise the issue of Cambodian labour there, especially human rights and teachers’ issues.

Officials at the Ministry of Education could not be reached for comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chhay Channyda at channyda.chhay@phnompenhpost.com

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