In the middle of an election campaign in which wages have been a prominent issue, the Ministry of Education did something out of the ordinary Monday: It made public the official pay scale it uses to remunerate its teachers.
The list contains figures that are somewhat difficult to make sense of, but one thing is clear: teachers across the board have been promised pay rises. Pen Phalla, deputy director of the Ministry of Education’s staff department, would not confirm yesterday what had prompted the pay increases or why the pay scale had been made public so close to July 28’s election.
“I don’t want to talk about it [the salary list], because I am not a politician,” he said.
Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, said yesterday that although it was strange that the document had been made public, the information contained in it was no secret.
According to Chhun, the salaries of teachers and government officials had increased annually by 20 per cent over the past few years.
“The salary of teachers is still low,” he said. “So I don’t think this announcement is necessarily motivated by party politics.”
The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party has made it a policy to focus on increasing wages for civil servants.
It has promised a minimum wage of at least $250 per month for civil servants. According to the pay scale, junior teachers are receiving far less than $100 per month.
Mak Van, secretary of state at the Ministry of Education, could not be reached for comment yesterday.