Provincial education authorities have denied that giving students pink T-shirts with the words “I love the Cambodian People’s Party” to wear during a CPP event was a violation of the Education Ministry’s ban on political propaganda in schools.
Pursat High School principal Aing Sakmony – who could not be reached for comment – handed out the T-shirts, which also bore the CPP’s logo, to grade 10 and 11 students on Saturday to wear during a workshop at the CPP’s provincial headquarters yesterday.
However, in 2015, Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron issued a directive banning all political activity in academic settings and threatened to fine or shut down institutions that violated the order. In a Facebook post, CNRP parliamentarian Eng Chhay Eang questioned the distribution of the T-shirts in light of the ban.
According to one student, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the principal admonished students to trust in the CPP at least once a month.
Ly Sokuthy, director of the provincial education department, confirmed the distribution of the T-shirts, but denied teachers had promoted the CPP. “It is a normal distribution, and if they love them, they can wear them,” he said of the shirts.
Provincial Cambodian Independent Teachers Association director Kem Darany accused Sakmony of political discrimination. “I am really disappointed as a teacher,” she said. “The ministry should not allow this to happen . . . It’s discrimination.”
Naron could not be reached yesterday and Ministry of Education spokesman Ros Salin declined to comment.