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Teachers, students to march against short skirts

AROUND 300 students, teachers and concerned members of the public will march through the streets of Phnom Penh on Sunday as part of a campaign to discourage female students from wearing short skirts to school, a campaign organiser told the Post Wednesday.

The Khmer Teachers’ Association organised the event as part of an effort to urge the Education Ministry, school heads and university directors to ban short skirts in school, a move it believes will help preserve Khmer culture, said director Seang Bunheang.

“I had the idea to organise the campaign because I want to improve Khmer culture [and retain the culture] that we had many years ago – some Khmer women change their manner by copying other cultures and do things such as wearing short skirts or sexy clothes in schools and public places. That can destroy our culture.

“I see that some female students don’t wear the Khmer student uniform. It seems like a Western uniform,” he said.

Seang Bunheang said he had sent a letter to the Education Ministry to request that it “take measures with female students who wear short
skirts in school”.

Pov Sam An, deputy director of the ministry’s Informal Education System Department, said Wednesday that he agrees female students should wear skirts below their knees – which he said was mandated by existing rules.

“All female students have to wear their skirts under the knees in school, and it is good that the Khmer Teachers’ Association campaign will remind people of this,” he said. “I cannot accept that some female students in private or state schools wear such short skirts to school.”

Rong Chhun, president of Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association (CITA), said Wednesday that he also supported the Khmer Teachers’ Association’s campaign.

“But I think they will not receive any result if we don’t have cooperation from the teachers, students’ parents, students and school managers,” he said.

Eang Huysang, a 23-year-old student said, “I don’t like that some female students wear very short skirts to study because it really affects male students and teachers’ feelings while they are studying. I think they should stop wearing short skirts to school because it is not our culture and is against the rule from the Ministry of Education.”
Ouch Sophorn, a 23-year-old English literature student said, “It is funny for me, and also for other male students when they walk to class, that there are many female students wearing short skirts – we always turn back to see them. I like to see female students wearing short skirts, but I don’t want my sister or my girlfriends to do that. I think it is not our tradition.”
Sim Soktan, a 20-year-old student of business administration said, “It is suitable for female students to wear skirts on the knee or longer than this. It is not good for our Khmer women to look like Western women, and I don’t like it at all. I think [it makes] both male students and teachers feel not so good about teaching and studying.”
Samnang Vathana, a 26-year-old librarian said, “I like wearing short skirts because I feel attractive and many people look at me. Some male students follow to see me when I wear a short skirt, and then I think I look more beautiful and that’s why they want to see me. I want to change my style from wearing long skirts to wearing short skirts.”

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