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Officials demanded bribes, teacher says

Officials demanded bribes, teacher says

A teacher at Tea Chamrath High School in Pursat town has accused school director Bou Sovannarith and deputy director Chhub Buntha of forcing students to pay bribes in the form of, among other things, enrolment fees for matriculation into the 2013-2014 academic year.

Phat Malin, the teacher in question, said the officials solicited 5,000 riel (about $1.25) from each student who sought to enroll, and created other fraudulent fees to bilk students out of even more money. Malin filed her complaint to the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, which has forwarded it to the Ministry of Interior, CITA president Rong Chhun said yesterday.

The fee was strictly enforced, Malin said, and some students who brought only 3,000 riel were turned away by the officials, who told them to return when they had the full amount. And the charges didn’t end there, she added.

“It was not only one case, but there are a lot of cases involving corruption by the directors, such as students having to pay 1,000 riel to the school when they borrow reading books from the library, and students who transfer from another school to this school having to pay between 20,000 riel and 80,000 riel,” Malin said.

Sovannarith, the director at the centre of the accusations, maintained yesterday that he had simply asked for voluntary donations for new pavement.

“This is completely wrong. I did not do what [Malin] said,” he said. “According to the law of the Education Ministry, enrolment for all students is free. So how can I charge my students?” he asked.

Bouy Bunna, a consultant with the ministry, said provincial officials would investigate the allegations, and added that soliciting money for enrolment and library use was indeed illegal.

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