Officials from 10 of 16 political parties which are members of the Supreme Council for Consultation and Recommendations met on Monday with Minister of Education, Youth and Sport Hang Chuon Naron at the capital’s Peace Palace to discuss issues in the education sector.
Cambodian Youth Party (CYP) president Pich Sros said he had asked the minister to address issues regarding political discourse in schools, teachers giving private tuition after hours, and the prohibition of private lessons in schools from primary through high school to improve the quality of education in the Kingdom.
In a Facebook post, Sros said the topics he mentioned were issues raised by citizens themselves. Delegates of other political parties had also raised concerns during the meeting.
In lieu of these concerns, Sros said he had requested for the implementation of a drug-testing programme for middle and high school students. The tests will be administered every three months to deter students from using drugs.
Greater attention to the 9th-grade examination was also called for to strengthen the capacities of middle school students and guarantee the quality of learning and their future competency in the workplace.
Additionally, Sros called for a salary raise for teachers and suggested they get paid at least 2 million riel (about $495) a month in a bid to prevent them from collecting unauthorised payments from students, and as motivation to do better.
After the meeting, Khmer Rise Party (KRP) president Sok Sovann Vathana Sabung said he had also asked for action to be taken against teachers who extort money from students on the pretext of giving after-class lessons.
Some teachers also collect payment for photocopying papers, said Vathana Sabung, who also noted the need for reforms in the education sector to support the lack of instructional materials.
“Members of the Council and KRP delegates will try their best to participate in reforming the education sector so that it will yield better results for society,” said Vathana Sabung.
Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha told The Post on Monday that it welcomed collaborations with relevant parties and expressed appreciation for all the constructive criticisms it had received.
The ministry also assured participants that it would implement the much-needed education reforms. “The ministry vows to strengthen the quality of education, especially in science and technology.
“It is committed to prioritising teachers’ quality of instruction, expanding the scope of instruction at all levels, strengthening school management inspections and encouraging technical education in high schools,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sros said the ministry had rejected some of the suggestions, such as prohibiting students from engaging in political discourse, drug testing programme for students, and a raise for teachers, citing the lack of a law and funding to support such initiatives.