MEMBERS of a British teachers union expressed dismay at the low salaries of Cambodian teachers during a meeting late last month that was part of weeklong conference with the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association (CITA), participants said.
The conference brought together members of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) and 30 teachers from Phnom Penh and Kandal province.
Phuong Viphou, project coordinator at the British embassy and the organiser of the visit, said she was shocked at the discrepancy between teacher pay in the UK and in Cambodia.
“I hope that teachers’ situation will change in the future in terms of salary, and that the teaching profession will be more respected and recognised, too,” she said.
CITA President Rong Chhun said teachers working in the UK earn about US$200 per day, whereas their Cambodian counterparts receive about $2 a day.
Phuong Viphou also said that the visiting ATL representatives might be able to push the government to improve teacher pay during their visit to Cambodia.
Asked to comment, the British embassy said in a statement: “The UK is not involved in the education reforms of Cambodia. However, we share the government’s aspirations to raise public-sector pay particularly for teachers and health workers. Obviously, this has to be subject to affordability and aligned with public-sector reforms.”
Ngo Hongly, secretary general of the Council for Administrative Reforms at the Council of Ministers, said the government’s policy was to increase teacher pay each year, adding that average salaries had risen from $19.50 in 2001 to $81.50 this year.