Minister of Education, Youth and Sport Hang Chuon Naron has called on private educational institutions to increase their attention to teaching Khmer language reading and writing to students. 

He issued the instruction during the inauguration of a new Arizon School campus in Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district on February 5.

Chuon Naron explained that the ministry is working to strengthen the quality of education in Cambodia, as well as the morality, conduct, virtues and behaviour of educational staff and students. 

“The ministry has fine-tuned school curriculum and extracurricular activities in order to strengthen not just their knowledge, but their discipline, moral conduct and life skills,” he said.

“We know that the teaching of the Khmer language is important for Cambodian children to understand their mother tongue. This is why the ministry has prepared a package that contains new methodology for instructing the reading and writing of the language. Moreover, we encourage the teaching of essays and dictations,” he added. 

He continued that the ministry encourages the promotion of the Khmer language, culture and civilisation at all private schools, as well as Buddhist education.

“We encourage private schools to cooperate and include Buddhist elements, in order to uphold moral conduct and raise awareness of our unique culture and religion. We continue to improve the health of students and urge parents and guardians to act as partners for education,” he said.

Pech Bolen, CEO of the Westline Education Group, supported the minister’s calls, noting that certain private schools and parents focused more on foreign languages than their mother tongue. 

“Globalisation leads to an interchange in languages and cultures. If we don’t make an effort to promote the Khmer language to our Khmer children, more foreign language influences will appear on a daily basis,” he said.

He added that this is an urgent task that requires the participation of all parties. The education ministry, schools and parents must all increase the attention they pay to teaching the Khmer language.

“I ask that parents encourage their children and communicate with them in the Khmer language at home,” he said.

Prime Minister Hun Manet has previously requested that the ministry collaborate with international private educational institutions to strengthen the Khmer language curriculum, along with Khmer morals and traditions, from primary levels through to 12 grade classes.

“I ask that the ministry consider the Khmer language curriculum, because Cambodian children at certain international schools don’t know the Khmer language, despite it being the formal language of Cambodia. It should be the duty of all schools, whether foreign-language schools or US curriculum schools, to apply the Khmer language curriculum to all Cambodian children,” he said.