The Phnom Penh City Hall has allowed the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association (Cita) to use the new Freedom Park along the riverside to celebrate the upcoming World Teachers Day on October 5.
In so doing, it has rejected Cita’s initial request to use the old Freedom Park near Wat Phnom and restricted the event to go on from 8-9am, as stated in two-page meeting note obtained by The Post yesterday.
Cita had planned to march with hundreds of teachers from across the Kingdom under the slogan The right to receive a good education from quality teachers and to submit a petition to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, as well as Prime Minister Hun Sen.
In its petition, the teachers’ union also demands that the government increase salaries to at least 2,000,000 riel ($490) per month, create a corruption prevention mechanism at educational institutions, add learning materials in schools, and provide an additional 150,000 riel as bonus for the teachers during Pchum Ben and Khmer New Year.
The demands have all been resolved by the ministry, according to its official who attended the meeting.
City Hall rejected Cita’s request to march, citing the Kingdom’s Demonstration Law which forbids any public assembly of over 200 participants. It said it would deploy armed forces personnel at the old Freedom Park to block any gathering.
“The Daun Penh district administration, the Phnom Penh municipal police and military police will be ready to prevent any gathering at the park,” the note said.
It concluded that: “The requester must ensure it will not carry out any event that is intended to attack the King, government, neighbouring countries or the elites.”
Speaking to The Post yesterday, Cita president Uk Chhayavy said she was disappointed with City Hall’s decision, noting that it celebrates World Teachers Day every year.
“City Hall basically said if we follow their conditions, we would be provided with security. But if we disobey, Cita would have problems.This is as if it has threatened the teachers and students that will join us,” she said.
In a separate meeting, the minister, Hang Chuon Naron, said on Tuesday that the government would also celebrate World Teachers’ Day at the National Institute of Education.
It will be presided by Prime Minister Hun Sen.
“At the event, 10 teachers will receive awards. So will the principals of high schools with more students getting A’s in the national examinations,” he said.
Unesco on Tuesday also issued a press release, saying it will celebrate World Teachers’ Day with the government.
Some 1,300 participants from the relevant ministries, development partners, NGOs, local authorities and teachers are expected to attend the event.