Minister of Education, Youth and Sport Hang Chuon Naron has urged educational institutions nationwide, including public and private schools, students, youth and relevant stakeholders, to use correct Khmer spelling across social media platforms and in public spaces. 

His directive, issued on February 27, underscores the importance of mastering Khmer language skills, including reading and writing with accurate spelling and grammar. Social observers have welcomed the initiative. 

“This guidance promotes the correct use of Khmer writing and spelling on social media and in all public domains. It aims to cultivate a love for and ensure the preservation of the national alphabet and language,” he said. 

The minister encouraged all schools to proofread writings in public areas on their campuses for both spelling and grammar accuracy. 

Additionally, he instructed teachers to ensure that their students pay close attention to reading and writing the language correctly. 

Furthermore, both public and private school management teams should organise contests to enhance proficiency in the Khmer language. 

“Parents, guardians and teachers can promote the language by encouraging children to actively engage with it through reading, writing and research. This includes advocating for the consistent use of the Khmer script and discouraging the substitution of characters from other languages. By fostering an environment that celebrates Khmer, they ensure its continued strength and relevance for future generations,” he said. 

Yang Peou, secretary-general of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said the use of written Khmer on the internet and in public faces challenges due to the expansion of technological systems and education in Cambodia.

He noted that the academy has dedicated efforts to Khmer alphabets and literature. Additionally, the academy welcomes the ministry’s instruction.

However, he says the ministry must have a clear policy and determination to implement this work effectively, as leadership sets the foundation for all initiatives. 

“In education, particularly among children of dignitaries and affluent families, many attend international schools where Khmer is not prioritised. Some send their children abroad for education, resulting in future leaders disconnected from Khmer language and culture due to exposure to foreign influences,” he added. 

At the 2023 launch ceremony of the board of directors and certificates of commendation for teachers and staff of the Federation of Education Services in Cambodia (FESC), Prime Minister Hun Manet called for the inclusion of mandatory Khmer subjects at international private schools. He cited observations of changing attitudes among some Cambodian students as the reason for this recommendation.