School textbooks paid for by the Asian Development Bank have been routed to district education offices, some of which are charging schools for books that are supposed to be free, an NGO investigation has found.
The textbooks on Khmer literature, maths, geography, morality and science were found to have been distributed to schools by local education authorities, which have charged between 50,000 to 100,000 riel ($12.50 to $25) for delivery, a report released yesterday found.
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) requires the books to be sent directly from the printers to the schools as part of the $1.3 million ADB-funded program.
Yesterday’s report by the Khmer Institute for National Development (KIND) and Affiliated Network for Social Accountability-East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA EAP), however, found that 23 out of 33 schools surveyed had got the books from the local education authorities, often at a price.
“Students still lack textbooks, while millions of them were published every year. The textbooks were wrongly available for sale in the marketplace without legal action being taken by the MoEYS,” said San Chey, a director of ANSA EAP.
“Twenty-three schools said they have received books from the district offices and have to pay money when they get them, from 50,000 riel to 100,000 riel, for transporting them to schools,” he added.
Lim Sovutharit, a director at the textbook supply office in the Department of Curriculum Development, said he would be asking the Education Minstry to order district offices to have the books delivered free of charge.
“We would like to join together, appealing to buyers not to buy the books which are sold in the markets,” he added.