S TUDENTS of Phnom Penh University's Foreign Language Center are angry because
they are being charged 100 riel each to use the university's two
The toilets are monitored each day by two Khmers - "armed" with
receipt books - employed by the Ministry of Education. Their salaries are
supplemented by AusAid to $50 a month.
The director of the center,
Australian Geoff Coyne, said: "There are 600 students in the Foreign Language
Center, and 2,000 in the entire university. These are the only working
"What would you have us do?"
First-year student Po Pheak
said that students had been told they did not know how to use toilets properly
and that they would be given lessons.
He said it was absurd and unjust
that the center charged for toilet use while all other faculties outside the
university campus - such as medicine, law, commerce and agriculture - allowed
students to use toilets for free.
"We are students. We are unemployed and
poor. We don't have much money. Some of us stay in pagodas and some have very
poor living conditions," students told the Post.
They said the government
should employ one or two staff to be in charge of cleaning the toilet or the
"This should be the school charge. The school governor
should be responsible for such a problem," said one student.
said they had filed a complaint to the school director but had so far got no
One of the toilet monitors, Long Sothea, told the Post that on
average 40 students a day paid to use the toilet, but no-one
"Perhaps they think I am innocent," she said.
said the money would be used for buying toilet tissue, towels and soap because
the center wanted to keep the toilet clean and sanitory.
warned that if the matter was not cleared up more problems would happen
The students however, said: "They are going to charge for
everything soon. We heard that they are going to make us pay for using the
library," said one. This issue of the Post reports that Coyne has warned
students that they are soon going to be charged $60 for "self-access"; $60 for
supplies and textbooks; $20 for electricity; $20 for cleaners and ground staff;
and $30 for equipment maintenance
- a grand total of $190 a year.
"We are going to petition the
Ministry of Education about the problem," the students said.