Cambodian teacher Neang Phalla stood no chance of winning the Global Teacher Prize when she flew to Dubai earlier this month, Prime Minister Hun Sen reasoned yesterday, as the fact former US President Bill Clinton attended the ceremony signalled the award was going to an American.
“Even though the result of the vote was not announced they had prepared for the winner,” Hun Sen said yesterday during a speech at Phnom Penh’s Institute of Technology.
“Clinton was already invited, which meant a teacher from the US won.”
Although missing out, top-10 finalist Phalla, who has worked for 25 years at Krousar Thmey’s schools for the disabled, was named a goodwill ambassador for global education, awarded a gold medal and given $2,500.
“The candidate was already elected, we had just gone there as an honoured guest,” added Hun Sen, who yesterday awarded Phalla 100 million riel for her work in education.
“But the top 10 is enough for us, even if the top 50, I was also happy.”