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Covid-19 colours World Teachers’ Day

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Minister of Education, Youth and Sport Hang Chuon Naron said the ministry chose the theme Smart Teachers for Digital Education to show that in a digital world, especially in the context of Covid-19, teachers must be smart to teach well. Hean Rangsey

Covid-19 colours World Teachers’ Day

Awards will not be handed out to principals and teachers on World Teachers’ Day on Monday due to the Covid-19 crisis and the fact that higher secondary diploma examinations have not been completed yet, Minister of Education, Youth and Sport Hang Chuon Naron said.

Instead, lectures and discussions are planned for the day commemorating teachers under the theme Smart Teachers for Digital Education.

Chuon Naron said on Sunday that the celebration had a different theme every year to showcase the value and honour of teachers.

“Every year, we give the best principal and best teacher awards to teachers and principals. But this year, because of Covid-19, and especially because we haven’t prepared the higher secondary diploma examinations yet, we couldn’t bestow any awards,” Chuon Naron said.

But there will be consultations and discussions on topics such as the role of principals, schools and teachers in the digital age.

Chuon Naron said the ministry chose the theme Smart Teachers for Digital Education to show that in a digital world, especially in the context of Covid-19, teachers must be smart to teach well.

“Every year, this day is celebrated with a lecture. So this year, we have a lecture on educational reform as a whole, especially focusing on effective school management practices,” Chuon Naron said.

In response to the resumption of schooling in the third phase, Chuon Naron said the ministry has not yet been able to open schools to 50-60 students in one class.

Only half of that number can physically attend class while the other half learns online. The ministry will continue to record all lessons and post them on the ministry’s digital forums such as Facebook, YouTube and television.

“We will continue to improve the distance learning system by setting up a question-and-answer system and a self-study system to enable students to do well through self-study.

“The ministry will try to raise funds to create digital classrooms in schools. The ministry will work with telecommunications companies to connect the internet to schools gradually,” the minister said.

Cambodian Independent Teachers Association (Cita) president Ouk Chhayavy said on Sunday that for World Teachers’ Day, the association and about 150 teachers plan to hold a ceremony at Freedom Park along National Road 5 in Russey Keo district’s Kilometre 6 commune.

It was initially going to take place at the Phnom Penh Capital Hall, but it only allowed for a gathering of 50 people.

“We are not celebrating like the Ministry of Education, which [usually] gives away awards on this day. We want teachers to have benefits that can continue,” Chhayavy said.

According to a ministry press release, this year’s World Teachers’ Day will be celebrated at the National Institute of Education with the participation of teachers, educators, the Khmer Academic Staff Association, the Cambodian Higher Education Association, and representatives of relevant development partners.

Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said on Sunday that World Teachers’ Day has been celebrated in Cambodia since 1997 to honour students and teachers across the Kingdom.

“Teachers have worked hard to fulfil their duties as trainers to transfer knowledge and advise students to only do good deeds, be responsible and respect their elders.

“The new concept of education is to gain knowledge, have good morals and learn to live together in harmony. Teachers have encouraged students to be good children, students and citizens, which is the driving force of social development,” Soveacha said.

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