Minister of Education, Youth and Sport Hang Chuon Naron instructed all public and private educational institutions to promote the unique Khmer culture and feature the Kingdom’s civilisation in their curricula, in order to inspire the patriotism of students.

“In order for Cambodian culture to not just survive but grow, all schools should find ways to include our culture in the way they teach their students – at all levels,” he said in a March 15 guidelines.

He also urged them to establish schedules that would allow students time to conduct their own research into Khmer language, literature and social studies, suggesting that the Kingdom’s librarians would be well-versed to assist.

“Students should be encouraged to borrow history books, as this will inspire them to buy them and read at home. This is only one part of the implementation and integration of Khmer culture-civilisation studies – school management and those in charge of technology should also participate,” he said.

The minister also pushed for organising monthly, semester and national exams in Khmer language, literature and social studies.

He instructed the Department of Curriculum Development to prepare a budget for purchasing and copying library materials that will support these subjects.

Yit Saony, a student at Russey Keo High School, expressed her support for the ministry’s guidelines “I believe it is important to cultivate each individual student’s knowledge about Khmer culture and civilisation,” she said.

Cambodian Independent Teachers Association (CITA) president Ouk Chhayavy was also in favour of the instructions.

“This is a positive step – I believe that several schools are lax when it comes to teaching students about their own culture and civilisation,” she said.

She urged the ministry to conduct regular inspections and ensure that the instructions were being implemented.

While speaking at a March 16 graduation ceremony of over 4,000 students of Build Bright University held at Koh Pich Convention and Exhibition Centre, Prime Minister Hun Sen instructed higher educational institutions to make sure that equal standards were maintained nationwide.

“I don’t see why there should be any difference in the quality of education between Phnom Penh or any of the provinces,” he said.

He also called for wide spread support for the education ministry’s suggestions that traditional folk games and dances replace imported activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year festivities.

“In the era of globalisation, our traditions and customs could be easily lost,” he warned.