Minister of Interior Sar Kheng said the government had reached a quorum to deploy 3,600 teachers at schools that lack teaching personnel and will continue to improve teachers’ quality and raise their standards of living.

Speaking at the 22nd Teachers’ Day celebration at the National Institute of Education in Phnom Penh on Saturday, Sar Kheng, who is also the deputy prime minister, said the government had built houses for teachers to give them a better living environment as well as raised their standards of professionalism and productivity.

“Teachers have received training in a series of capacities and some have gained higher qualifications. For example, in the past, primary school teachers were required to complete only primary school education.

“But now, one must have a high school diploma. In the future, we will further strengthen our teachers’ capabilities to be on par with standards in the region,” he said.

Delivering his speech at the same event, Minister of Education, Youth and Sport Hang Chuon Naron said to develop digital education in the Kingdom, it was necessary to have a pool of capable teachers who were motivated to provide quality education for students.

“In response to the need, the ministry has focussed on promoting teachers’ capabilities. Among the reforms carried out were training [including pre-service training] for teachers and professional development for the teachers and principals,” said Chuon Naron.

Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association president Ouk Chhayavy said on Sunday that last year, the government had focussed on raising teacher’s salaries. But for 2020, there is no indication from the government that it will do so.

A salary that is sufficient to support a decent life, she said, would be a strong encouragement for teachers.

Chhayavy hoped that teachers will not need a “second or third occupation”. Now almost all teachers have a “second, third or even fourth occupation” to supplement their household income, she said.

Unesco representative to Cambodia Sardar Umar Alam said on Saturday that teachers had played a pivotal role in achieving quality education for all within the framework of the 2030 Education Agenda. Investing in teachers is one of the best avenues to raise any country’s human capital.

“Cambodia has embarked on this mission by prioritising education for teachers, especially in equipping young teachers with the skill sets to prepare for challenges of teaching in the 21st century. Through this effort, students will benefit from interactive learning and the use of digital technologies in teaching,” Alam said.

Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha told The Post on Sunday that the government had been increasing the budget for the ministry’s initiatives in regards to education, youth and sport. Teachers’ salaries had increased three times within six years of introducing the reforms and would continue to be gradually raised in the future, he said.

“The quality of the teachers is a crucial priority of the ministry, especially with the continuation of 2019-2023 reforms that focus on raising the qualification and living standards of teachers,” he said.