T EACHERS will not be allowed to discuss politics with their pupils, under a new
order from the Royal Government.
One ministry official said the penalty
for disobeying the order would be decided by the courts.
decree has been passed to the Phnom Penh education municipality and will affect
both Khmer and foreign teachers of English.
A Ministry of Education
official, who requested anonymity but who had seen the decree, said: "Many
teachers quote from newspaper such as the Bangkok Post or the Phnom Penh Post to
teach their students... and the articles are mostly political and criticize the
Representatives of 19 private schools at a meeting in the
Khan Bram Pei district education office were told by the district chief "you
can't talk about politics, you can't talk about corruption, you can't criticize
the government," according to one attendee.
The man, who asked neither he
nor his school be named, said it was his understanding that "many investigators"
would go around schools ensuring the order was enforced.
He said the
meeting was told that foreign teachers would also be "requested not to talk
against the government".
Khan Sam Bo, who is in charge of private schools
within the Khan Bram Pei district and was one of the organizers of the meeting,
said it was true that teachers were told to teach only their specific
"Some teachers not only take articles from newspapers but they
also use other words to criticize the government," Sam Bo said.
asked whether the order was targeted against Khmer or foreign teachers, he said:
"Teachers who teach English and use words against the government."
explained that neither the ministry nor many teachers had approved "programs" to
"They teach just what they want to teach" and many had no
Sam Bo said the word "investigators" was probably
"too strong" to use. "They are just supervisors who will go around schools,
finding out how many teachers and where they are from."
He said the move
against talking about politics was from "a Royal Government decree" handed down
to the Ministry of Education.
If supervisors found teachers using "bad
words" against the government "we will just report to the ministry and they
would order me to do what they say, according to the decree".
police and they can find [the teacher], where he is living, investigate and the
police can do their job," he said.
The ministry official said that the
government considered any teachers who taught "politics" against the government
was a person who supported politicians who were against the
Local authorities would take control of teachers' curriculum
or "spy" during class, he said.
"If the authorities found that teachers
were using political articles against the government then they would be arrested
and sent to court, and the court will judge."