Since 1979, after surviving the Khmer Rouge regime that destroyed both human resources and infrastructure, Cambodian society has produced many people who have worked to rebuild and develop the Kingdom. This is largely thanks to the huge and invaluable sacrifices made by teachers, Prime Minister Hun Sen said in his letter as he celebrated World Teacher’s day.

Hun Sen said that since 1997, Cambodia has marked World Teacher’s day every October 5 to inspire students to honour and remember the great merit of teachers throughout the country.

“Teachers are considered a second parent. They provide our children with knowledge and teach them how to conduct themselves. It all goes back to the old premise – those who know more, teach those who know less and those who know less, teach those who do not know at all,” he added.

Minister of Education, Youth and Sport Hang Chuon Naron said this year’s World Teacher’s Day was being held with the theme “Our Teachers, Our Future, Our Nation”, under a global theme of “Education system Transformation.”

The day was celebrated as the world and Cambodia alike commit to transform education and resolve the main obstacles facing teachers, specifically the post-Covid-19 education recovery under the concept the “new normal in education.”

“Obviously, the Covid-19 crisis showed clearly that teachers are the engine of our education system. They are at the heart of education,” he added.

He said the role of an effective teacher is to ensure that students receive education in all circumstances with equity, inclusiveness and quality. Teachers also have an important role to play in reviving education from the crisis and determining the future of all students.

“We should all promote teachers and the profession of teaching in order to achieve a better future for Cambodia’s children and youths,” Chuon Naron added.

UNESCO representative to Cambodia Sardar Umar Alam welcomed Cambodia’s support for teachers and thanked all teachers in Cambodia for contributing to the development of the nation.

“In our support of the education system in Cambodia, teachers are at the core of reforming education. We believe that transformation begins with them,” he said.

UNESCO is delighted that Cambodia has prioritised the development of teachers in its reform agenda. The organisation will continue to support the education ministry as it develops quality teachers.

Umar Alam added that these topics reflected one strong common message – that is, the central role of empowered, motivated, and qualified teachers and education personnel in the right place with the right skills in the delivery of quality education.

According to a joint press release, in the more than two years since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, teachers have been at the forefront of supporting students as they recover lost learning. The pandemic had forced all students and their teachers to adapt.

“Teachers in Cambodia had to learn new skills quickly and adapt their teaching methods to support continuity of learning as the situation changed. Due to school closures, many teachers have learned digital skills and moved teaching from a traditional classroom setting to online and hybrid learning environments,” it read.

It added that as the world emerged from the pandemic, continued support for teachers in Cambodia was more urgent than ever.

Yos Eang, president of the Khmer Academic Staff Association, recalled that the first Cambodian Teachers’ Day was held 25 years ago, in 1997.

The day was established by government sub-decree, thanks to the initiative of the prime minister, he said.

“For students to love, respect and appreciate teachers has been a tradition of the Khmer people since ancient times. We are always pleased to hear about former students who have gone on to become civil servants, members of the armed forces and businessmen, hosting ceremonies to thank teachers for their successes,” he added.