Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Start of school year delayed

Start of school year delayed

Students in class at Wat Koh High School earlier this year
Students in class at Wat Koh High School earlier this year. Public schools, which typically start in the beginning of October, will this year commence classes on November 3. Pha Lina

Start of school year delayed

Tardiness is usually discouraged within school settings, but this year, the Education Ministry is endorsing a month-long delay for the whole academic year.

Public schools, which typically start in the beginning of October, will this year commence classes on November 3, with studies continuing until the school break in August.

“We did this for two reasons: one, the national exam redo in October, and then also because of flooding,” said Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron. “Chronic flooding, especially in the Tonle Sap Lake area, meant that if we began in October, not all schools could start classes at the same time.”

Sceptics argued that the delay was instituted solely for the benefit of the grade 12 national exam sitters, and thus privileged less than 2 per cent of the nation’s three million students.

“This big change is for the few students who did not pass the national exam in August and needed a retest, compared to all the rest of the students who will now be affected,” said San Chey, coordinator for accountability NGO ANSA-EAP.

The Education Ministry, however, said that while this year was “an exceptional case”, the change may become standard practice if the new calendar goes well.

Last year, severe flooding prevented more than 500 schools from starting on time. This year, though the flooding was less dramatic – affecting an estimated 300 schools – a small handful may still be barred from opening on schedule.

“We don’t have any schools destroyed by the floods this year.… Most of the schools that were affected were nearby the river, and the water brought a lot of mud into the classrooms,” said Svay Phally, director of Kampong Cham’s Education Department, who estimated that 90 per cent of the province’s schools could start as planned, with another 10 per cent still requiring a de-mucking.

Phally’s education department also joins Koh Kong and Battambang with outstanding repair requests – including for broken roofs – from the flooding last year, an issue the ministry said it is “working on”.

MOST VIEWED

  • Proof giants walked among us humans?

    For years a debate has waged about whether certain bas relief carvings at the 12th-century To Prohm Temple, one of the most popular attractions at the Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Siem Reap province, depicted dinosaurs or some rather less exotic and more contemporary animal,

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • Japan bank buys major stake in ANZ Royal Bank

    Japan's largest bank acquired more than half of ANZ’s shares in Cambodia on Thursday, according to a statement from Kith Meng’s Royal Group. Japan's JTrust Bank, announced that they had acquired a 55% of stake in ANZ Royal Bank. According to a Royal Group