The Phnom Penh Municipal Hall has allowed teachers to mark World Teachers’ Day early next month. It will also accept a petition from the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association (Cita).
However, the municipal authority warned Cita to be responsible and abide by the law to ensure no irregularities occur during the event.
Former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) senior officials who were banned from politics by the Supreme Court are not allowed to join the event.
On Monday, the Phnom Penh Municipal Hall, led by deputy governor Mean Chanyada, met to discuss the matter with a Cita representative.
The association requested that it mark World Teachers’ Day under the theme Promotion of Rights of Teachers on October 5 at 8am at Democratic Square. It will be attended by 150 to 200 people.
A note after the Phnom Penh Municipal Hall meeting dated September 23, said Cita had been allowed to mark World Teachers’ Day.
However, it must not march in a procession along public streets to present their petition to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and the cabinet of Prime Minister Hun Sen. Instead, between eight and 10 representatives would be assigned to present its petition.
The note also states that Cita must ensure that no gathering would be held in front of the event venue.
The Phnom Penh Municipal administration stressed that its representative would make a compromise with Cita to receive a petition.
On the other hand, the Municipal Hall also emphasised that if the number of participants surpasses 300 people, the relevant authorities would meet with the master of ceremonies to discuss its proceedings.
The organiser will take full responsibility for the internal security and safety within the venue, while the police will be responsible for security from the outside for surrounding areas.
In situations where suspicious activities or individuals are seen, attending teachers have to report them to the police for timely action to be taken.
The note stated: “The association must ensure participating members do not use this forum to attack the King, senior government figures, neighbouring countries or incite citizens to breed violence.
“The mentioned behaviours which are forbidden contravenes the essence and intention of the event and could damage national solidarity.”
Apart from the above guidelines, the Phnom Penh Municipal Hall has also required the association to check and take responsibility for the use of banners.
The association must ban CNRP senior officials from attending the event. If the association fails to respect the pre-agreed guidelines, Cita representatives will be held responsible under the law.
Cita president Ouk Chhayavy told The Post on Tuesday that while conditions for granting the permission was restrictive, it is still an acceptable compromise.
The decision of the authorities this time was different from before, where they had always refused all requests put forward by the association.
However, she insisted that the authorities continue to give rights and freedom as stipulated in the law and fully respect the freedom of teachers on World Teachers’ Day.
She emphasised that if there were irregularities, it would be only set off by opportunists. “But we are not afraid, because what we do will follow the law,” she stressed.
Cita said it demanded that the government provide experiment tools, study instruments, and lesson books for students and teachers in educational establishments and schools at all levels.
It is also requesting bonuses for the teachers on each national holiday (the Pchum Ben festival and Khmer New Year), apart from requesting that the minimum wage be raised for the teachers to live a decent living.
Chhayavy said he expects that the requests would receive due attention from relevant government institutions, especially Prime Minister Hun Sen as head of the government.
She expressed the belief that the prime minister would assist the teachers to improve their livelihood and uphold the quality of education in Cambodia.