ROTESTING second year economics students have refused to attend classes for the
last two weeks due to a curriculum change at the Institute of Economics which
has effectively demoted them to first year level.
The deputy director of
the Institute, Yok Ngoy, said: "The economics course has been reduced from five
to four years, we amended the curriculum to make it more modern. The second year
students are now first year students according to the new system."
first day of their strike about 200 students gathered in front of the Institute
demanding they not be included with the first year students. They were looking
to the Ministry of Education to solve the dispute.
A student, who asked
not to be named, said: "We have already studied for one year. How can we join
students at a lower level, it is not fair. The system is discouraging us to
study by throwing us in with students a year below us."
He said: "We are
also complaining because we have less teaching staff due to a split in the
faculty last year while first year student numbers have now doubled due to this
Ngoy said: "In 1993 the faculty split into the Economics faculty
assisted by the French, and the Commerce faculty funded by Asia foundation with
the assistance of George- town University. Many former economics teachers
transferred to the Commerce faculty."
Ngoy said the Minister of
education, Ung Huot, had asked the students to resume classes promising he would
resolve their problems by the second week of June, but the students ignored his
A fourth year student, Keo Sunsodany, said: "We are going
crazy. In first year we studied socialism, we had Vietnamese teachers and the
"The next year we studied free market economics and French
accounting, we had French teachers and learnt the French language. Now we study
marketing, business and American accounting, we have Khmer teachers from the US
and we study English.
"We are unlucky students, we have no good subjects
and no good teachers."
The French Embassy coordinator of assistance to
the Economics Faculty, Lionel Vairon, Attaché de Cooperation, said: "I very much
regret this because we have already taught the students for a year. But we
cannot do anything, it is up to the government to solve the problem."