Search form

Login - Register | FOLLOW US ON

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Teachers out of pocket as school collapses

Teachers out of pocket as school collapses

The owners of a Phnom Penh private school have split up accusing each other of

mismanagement, handed the whole operation to another school, and left 20

teachers owed $16,000 and many out of work.

The transfer has been

achieved with a signed seven-point legal contract, but the teachers have

petitioned the Social Affairs Ministry to recover what is owed to them in wage

arrears.

From Tuesday this week the Asia Pacific Institute (API) at 189

Mao Tse Tung Blvd has merged with Beltie International Institute (BII) of 77 St

215. BII has assumed responsibility for all API's debts (totalling $6179),

accounts payable and teacher wages since May 1.

API was opened in 2001 by

Nay Vanda and Stephen Louw (from South Africa) as directors, and additional

shareholding from an un-named Singaporean investor.

On May 17, more than

20 Cambodian and foreign teachers at API filed a petition to the Ministry of

Social Affairs work inspection office at Chamkar Morn district after not getting

paid for almost two months. Some had already resigned to find paid work.

A former director of studies at API, Troy Billsborrow (one of those owed

two months pay), said problems arose between the shareholders over school

management issues. It seemed that the Cambodian director was the real power in

the school.

"I don't have a lot of hope of getting the money; he lied to

everybody all the time," said Billsborrow. "My feeling now about Cambodia is not

so good; foreigners are scared of Cambodian partners."

Billsborrow said

the Western teachers are owed roughly $1,000 each and Khmer teachers from $500

to $600 each. Many had decided to cut their losses and move on before Khmer New

Year.

Another Western teacher (who did not wish to be named) said: "We

have no choice; we did not want to leave the school but we cannot work for

nothing. I do not expect to get the $1,100 I am owed. The school has money to

pay for advertisements on TV, but it has no money to pay its teachers."

He said the Khmer teachers were much worse off than foreigners because

some of them were still looking for jobs after they had left the

school.

Vanda blamed the former Singaporean shareholder director who he

said had wasted money and departed in April.

"They had a spending spree

and ran away. I also want my money back. They cheat all of us. If the teachers

can stand to wait a little longer, they will get a good solution."

Vanda

said the teachers came to ask him every day for their money. "I cannot find the

money immediately, but now the school has arranged to solve the problem for

them. It will take about one month more to do it."

Meng Sreng Yong, a

former teacher at API said: "He [Vanda] has money but he won't give it to the

teachers. He likes threatening people too." He said the school owed him about

$1,200.

Suy Chun Hak, Vanda's lawyer, said the school had some problems

with the Singaporean shareholder, and now the school had organized to solve the

situation for teachers and staff.

"Filing a petition was the last choice

for us, we are the victims," said teacher Chum Chandarin, who left in late

April.

Ath Hieng, director of the work inspection office at Chamkar Morn

district, said he had received the petition from the teachers and he had invited

the school director, Vanda, to see him.

"The problem could be solved if

the director and teachers had a better understanding of each other's situation.

But, however, he is trying to have it tidied up in two weeks."

The legal

agreement to transfer API's assets, license and debts to BII was signed by Vanda

and Louw (who also represented the un-named Singaporean), and Ly Chheng

(director of BII),

In the contract Chheng agrees to provide English

education, including specified degrees, to all students who had registered in

API, as per API's standard program.

In the case of long term fees paid by

students who contest BII's ability to follow API's standard progam, and request

refunds, Vanda and Louw will negotiate with them.

0

Comments

Please, login or register to post a comment

Latest Video

Turkish Embassy calls for closure of Zaman schools

With an attempted coup against the government of President Recep Erdogan quashed only days ago and more than 7,000 alleged conspirators now under arrest, the Turkish ambassador to Cambodia yesterday pressed the govern

CNRP lawmakers beaten

Two opposition lawmakers, Nhay Chamroeun and Kong Sakphea were beaten unconscious during protests in Phnom Penh, as over a thousand protesters descended upon the National Assembly.

Student authors discuss "The Cambodian Economy"

Student authors discuss "The Cambodian Economy"

Students at Phnom Penh's Liger Learning Center have written and published a new book, "The Cambodian Economy".