Teachers across Cambodia are insisting pay raises aren’t just an election year issue.
More than 30 representative teachers gathered for the start of a three-day seminar in Phnom Penh yesterday to continue demanding living wages.
“Teachers cannot live on their current salary and have to find other ways and other jobs to make enough money to live,” said Ke Dararoth, education program manager at the NGO Education Partnership.
The teachers are asking for $250 per month, according to seminar director Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association. The figure represents a huge increase; the Education Partnership estimates teachers on average earn $50 a month.
“The biggest concern of the teachers is the low salary that makes it difficult for us to live,” said Kim Darany, a Pursat primary school teacher. “I have worked as a teacher for 32 years, but I receive only 320,000 riel [about $80] per month.”
Chhun said he will try to meet with newly appointed Minister of Education, Youth and Sport Hang Chuon Naron to share issues raised by teachers.
“We never give teachers a chance to talk about their problems, but here they will have time to talk about the situation they are facing and what they want the government and the education minister to do for them,” said Chhun.
Chuon Naron could not be reached for comment.