Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday issued a sub-decree to limit teacher overtime in public schools in an effort to fix teachers’ working hours in accordance with government budgetary constraints.
Teachers will be allowed to work a maximum of 48 hours of overtime a month. Civil servants who teach courses in addition to their government jobs will be allowed a total of 32 hours of overtime per month, and non-civil servant “experts” can work up to 50 hours of overtime per month.
According to Minister of Education Hang Choun Naron, the sub-decree, which comes into effect on April 1, will “fix working hours for teachers and respect the limits of the government budget”.
Acting director of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association Ouk Chhayavy said she remained ambivalent. “Sometimes, it will help teachers,” she said. “They will know how many hours they are required to teach per month and how many overtime hours they are allotted.”
However, she explained, the sub-decree does little to improve teachers’ salaries, which are so low that teachers in the past have resorted to demanding bribes from students.
“For example,” Chhayavy said, “for primary school teachers, the base salary is nearly $100 per month, and some high school teachers only make $150 a month.”
Chhayavy went on to call on the government to increase teachers’ salaries to $300 a month. “When teachers don’t make much money, they work extra hours and ask students for money to supplement their salaries. This still happens today.”