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Language school takes flight with 'Angry Birds'

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The Angry Birds Foreign Language School in Banteay Meanchey. Photograph: supplied

Language school takes flight with 'Angry Birds'

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The Angry Birds Foreign Language School in Banteay Meanchey. Photograph: supplied

Cambodia youths have taken to the characters from the popular game Angry Birds like fish to water – or a bird to the sky as the case may be – proudly plastering the adversarial avian avatars on everything from T-shirts to motorbikes.

Now, a school director in Banteay Meanchey province is banking on the assumption that kids will also want to attend a school unofficially endorsed by the bellicose birds.

The Angry Birds Foreign Language School – which serves children as young as 6 and as old as 15 – was created about a month ago in Banteay Meanchey’s Serei Sophorn town, a rural outpost that school director Yem Nary said could be improved by education, with the help of a little savvy marketing.

“I had an idea that if I created a school and gave it a strange name to attract the children, then they would ask their parents to study at my school,” she explained.

Flying on the backs of such popular characters, Nary said, has drawn in more than 50 students, all of whom come in curious about the name.

Without the furious fowls, she maintained, the school – which charges 10,000 riel (US$2.50) per month – would have folded immediately given that private schools in Serei Sophorn have closed in the past for lack of students.

“The parents in my village are not so encouraging of their children to study, and there is only one English-language school, mine,” she said. “Some students do not have money, but I allow them to study without charging.”

But for all the help they’ve been in Nary’s endeavour, the creators of Angry Birds are, to her knowledge, unaware of the school, given that Nary herself did not ask permission to use the logo.

“I did not use it for selling, or to put on a product and sell it,” she said, expressing her belief that the copyright holders wouldn’t squawk at the liberty she’s taken.

“But if they said I use this logo illegally, I can change it, but I used it to only attract the students.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Mom Kunthear at [email protected]

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