Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Boxes for donations, not bribes: minister

Boxes for donations, not bribes: minister

Boxes for donations, not bribes: minister

The minister of education proposed yesterday that donation boxes for teachers be installed in schools across the country, but stressed their aim would be to diminish rather than grow a culture of bribery in the system.

Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron presented the idea for the “equity foundation boxes” during the capital’s first forum between teachers, parents and students at Hun Sen Bun Rany High School.

“[Donating] money to the equity foundation boxes has to be transparent. Students cannot think it should be used to buy [better] scores on [tests or in class],” Chuon Naron said. “Giving donations should be given voluntarily and not pressured.”

But some forum participants said the government should raise salaries rather than introduce a donation system.

According to a grade 12 teacher, low salaries were the cause of many problems in schools and must be increased.

“If teachers had a better living wage we would pay more attention to [better] teaching our students,” he said. “If Excellency [Chuon Naron] wants to strengthen the quality of education, he has to boost teacher salaries first,” he said.

The minimum wage for teachers increased in January from about $80 a month to $100, according to the Teachers Association of Cambodia.

Ros Sopheap, executive director of NGO Gender and Development for Cambodia, said yesterday that the amount of money that teachers were paid was “not in synch with reality”.

“How can the minister say education is a priority for this country when teachers are so undervalued by the system that they have to ask for bribes from their students to support themselves?” she said.

Phay Vanna, 45, barely makes do on his monthly salary of $160. To supplement his income, he teaches extra classes each month, he told the Post.

“If teachers’ salaries ranged from $250 to $500 we could survive. I don’t want to teach extra classes because it leaves no time to rest. We deserve a [liveable] salary, too,” he said.

The ministry announced this week that exam proctors would be paid twice as much as last year in an attempt to stamp out bribery.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AMELIA WOODSIDE

MOST VIEWED

  • Kem Sokha’s daughters slam ‘liar’ Sam Rainsy over ‘smears’

    The daughters of former opposition leader Kem Sokha hit out at Sam Rainsy on Tuesday, accusing the newly nominated “acting president” of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) of leading a “smear campaign” against their father and “repeatedly lying to the public”. The Supreme Court-dissolved

  • US Embassy urges reconciliation

    The US has urged Cambodia to restore the independence of the media, drop charges against Kem Sokha and other political prisoners, and end the prohibition of political activity by opposition parties. However, senior government officials see the request, issued by US embassy spokesman Arend C

  • Phnom Penh authorities ban march for Human Rights Day

    Phnom Penh authorities have banned a planned march as local NGOs and workers’ unions gear up to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Monday, with a youth group leader saying they would march nonetheless. The UN

  • Government deports 235 Chinese scammers

    THE Immigration Department of the Ministry of Interior on Thursday deported 235 Chinese nationals, 35 of whom were female, via the Phnom Penh International Airport for their part in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) online money extortion scam. The deportees were arrested on November 26 over the