"NOBODY wants to be corrupt but we have to live," said one teacher, who asked
not to be named. "Our salary is 50,000 riels per month, just enough to feed the
"Our living conditions are very poor."
survive through taking on extra jobs, overtime teaching, private tutoring,
moto-taxi driving or selling goods on the street. Others support themselves off
their spouses income.
"Poor salaries have a destructive effect on
student learning. Students look down on us when they see how poor we are.
"They don't listen to or respect us when we try to give them advice on
how to study better."
"When we try to discipline students they often
threaten us, sometimes they carry guns.
"Often parents, especially
people in high positions, blackmail us to make sure their sons and daughters
pass the exams."
Pen Sarun, director of Bak Touk High School, said:
"Teachers' standard of living has worsened since the SOC period. The salaries
were better then and the teachers also got other supplements from the
"The Ministry of Education promised in March to increase
our salaries by 20,000 riels per month . The pay rise still has not come
through. We wonder if it ever will."
"Most teachers behave honestly when
"But when they were dispatched to the remote areas,
they were only given 5,000 riels to cover their travel and expenditure for a
"Often they would have to spend their own money in addition to the
Education Ministry allowance.
"There was a strong temptation to become
Sarun said this year all teachers had taken an oath to be
honest during student examinations. "I hope at least 70 percent of corruption
will be eliminated. No amount of government measures will stop the cheating, it
will only be stopped if the teachers have good moral character."
teacher said: "Students prefer, rather than studying, finding ways to cheat or
relying on bribing someone to pass their exams. The bribe rate is too cheap."
"Foreign culture has also had a bad impact on students desire to learn.
"Most students are more interested in racing motorcycles, karaoke,
nightclubs, video games and going to health clubs than their lessons."
"Our teaching is not good, because we have to earn extra money we do not
have much time to prepare good lessons. "Each passing year student competence