Wat Bo Primary School in Siem Reap town is considered a model school throughout the Kingdom and beyond, having made a name for itself for its well-mannered pupils, pleasant environment and attentive teachers.
Located in Sala Kamroeuk commune’s Wat Bo village, this academic year the school has 126 teachers and 6,444 students.
The school’s principal, Peng Kimchhen, had a tough upbringing and aims to help his pupils avoid such hardships.
He instils in teachers and students alike with standards of dignified behaviour, morals and virtue.
“To become a good leader, I follow one ‘don’t’ and five ‘dos’. Don’t be selfish. Do be willing, patient, hard-working, honest and devoted,” Kimchhen told The Post.
Teachers are not allowed to provide extra classes at the school or sell snacks in classes like at other state schools. Parking fees are banned and both pupils and teachers must comply with the school regulations. It is immediately noticed that students always put rubbish in bins, so the campus is litter-free.
Kimchhen said the school also helps poor students and those with mental health problems. “I have helped find funding for 500 to 600 students. And we appeal to other capable students to share what they can with those who are less fortunate,” he said.
Teachers at Wat Bo are required to meet certain standards, and 101 teachers hold bachelor’s degrees. They must also have a sound grasp of information and communications technology (ICT).
In addition to the curriculums approved by the Ministry of Education, the school also focuses on sports, music and art.
Teacher Touch Bondol said: “He [Kimchhen] always talks about morals, professionalism and a sense of duty.”
Kong San Ratana, the mother of three pupils, said they previously attended a private school. “Before, I was not interested in Wat Bo. But I visited with my aunt and saw how well organised it was.
“The students were respectful and polite – raising their hands and taking off their shoes,” she said, adding with a big smile: “There’s no rubbish either!”