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No school for families refusing to move for Lower Sesan II

Homes in Stung Treng Srekor Village lay dismantled in anticipation of the flooding caused by the Lower Sesan Dam II.
Homes in Stung Treng Srekor Village lay dismantled in anticipation of the flooding caused by the Lower Sesan Dam II. Eliah Lillis

No school for families refusing to move for Lower Sesan II

About 105 children in Stung Treng’s Kbal Romea and Srekor villages no longer have access to education as their parents refuse to relocate in the face of potential flooding from the Lower Sesan II hydropower dam, community representatives say.

Five teachers, including two working on contract for the Ministry of Education, used to teach at the local primary school, according to Kbal Romea community representative Dam Samnang.

Three of the teachers moved to a new school at a relocation site along National Route 78, while the other two quit teaching when they stopped receiving salaries from the Ministry of Education, he added.

“They haven’t had teachers for more than a year,” Samnang said.

Likewise, most children remaining in nearby Srekor village – which also faces flooding – no longer go to school, said Fut Khoeun, a Srekor community representative.

“Kids, including my son, have not had teachers since March [because] teachers moved to the relocation site,” said Khoeun, who did not know the number of children still in the village.

According to Khoeun, a few students cross the Sesan River by boat each day to attend a school at their community’s relocation site, about four kilometres away.

Provincial Hall spokesman Men Kong confirmed teachers had moved to the relocation sites, adding that the children still in Kbal Romea and Srekor would have access to schools when their parents relocated.

Kong said he did not know about unpaid teachers’ wages in Kbal Romea. Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron referred questions to Heang Poly, director of Stung Treng’s Education Department, who could not be reached for comment.

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