PLANS to reduce the number of temporary teachers in Cambodia by more than 50 percent may greatly hamper the development of the Kingdom’s education sector, the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association (CITA) said Tuesday.
In a directive dated October 23, the Ministry of Education states that the number of temporary contract teachers in Cambodia is to be reduced from 20,871 in 2009 to 10,236 in 2010. Overall spending for the Ministry of Education in the 2010 budget is US$201 million, up from $181 million in 2009.
CITA President Rong Chhun said further budget increases are necessary to stem the loss of temporary teachers.
“Teacher shortages will undermine the government’s goal of raising the Cambodian education standard, and that’s why I want the minister to reconsider this reduction,” Rong Chhun said, adding that CITA sent a letter to Minister of Education Im Sethy on Monday asking him to explain the reduction. Officials from the Ministry of Education could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
Cambodian People’s Party lawmaker Cheam Yeap declined to comment on the education budget but acknowledged the problem of crowded classrooms and said the government is working on the issue.
“Since I used to be a teacher, I know that normally there are about 30 students in a class, but if there are more than this it can be difficult for both students and teachers,” he said. “The government always cares about education standards even though we sometimes face difficulties, and I have never forgotten to celebrate Teachers Day.”