The Education Sector Has No Quality because the Teacher’s Salaries Are Small and Insufficient to Cover Their Daily Livelihood Expenses – Thursday, 26.3.2009

Posted on 27 March 2009. Filed under: Week 605 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 605

(Newly edited, corrected version – apologies: we had first uploaded an uncorrected version)

“The Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association conducted a survey in mid 2008 in nine of the 24 provinces around the country with 430 teachers, among whom 23.91% are female, 46.37% of them are primary school teachers where 30.37% are female, 28.26% are secondary school teachers where 23.84% are female, and 25.21% of them are high school teachers where 12.60% are female. All responses honestly expressed accurately the actual facts in their situation as teachers, and the responses leave concerns for youth and for the nation in the future.

“The president of the Cambodian Independent Teacher’s Association, Mr. Rong Chhun, said during a press conference in the morning of 25 March 2009 that according to the findings of the survey about the conditions of teachers and the education sector, the association is worried about the inactivity of about 53.91% of teachers who do not teach regularly. 93.04% of teachers said that the rate of students dropping out of school is high and, 45% consider that the education sector has no quality, and only 52.39% said that the education sector has pretty good quality.

“Mr. Rong Chhun asked the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen to solve some issues as follow:

  1. Increase the value of a basic teaching unit for teachers from Riel 720 to Riel 2,000 per unit in 2009 in order to eliminate irregular teaching.
  2. Promote quality education to be as good as education elsewhere in the region.
  3. Eliminate corruption and poverty to cut down the rate of students dropping out of schools.
  4. Create sufficient schools and employment for teachers and for graduate students.

“Mr. Rong Chhun told reporters that based on the findings of the survey, 48% of teachers care to teach their students regularly. They said that they must be responsible for their obligation and role toward students and must have conscience and pity toward Khmer students of the next generations despite facing difficulties in their livelihood and earning improper salaries, making them unable to live and worker better.

“Mr. Rong Chhun stated that 53.91% of teachers are not attending school regularly, and they do not care about their students. As their justification for this unqualified teaching, teachers put the blame on the government that does not increase their salaries enough, so that their daily lives challenge them with difficulties and they have to take part of their time to do other jobs to earn money to support their families. 1.08% do not attend school regularly and do not care about their work and student’s future at all, and they just try to find another job and make some arrangement with school administrators or district and provincial education officials by paying them some kickbacks monthly.

“Mr. Rong Chhun added that in that survey, 6.95% of teachers responded that students do not drop out of schools, claiming that students understand the value of education to be important for their future and that they want to be good citizens in society. He went on to say that 93.4% of teachers said that the rate of students dropping out of school is high and the survey found that 40.85% of primary students drop out of school, 38.55% of secondary students, and 32.64% of high school students. This percentage shows that the education sector falls into a hazardous condition.

“Teachers claim that students drop out of school because of poverty, lack of means for traveling, or finding jobs at factories. Students spend much time to buy lesson handouts, test papers, sweet snacks, and candy from their teachers. Because some teachers take money from students and most teachers do not teach regularly, students drop out of school and lack self-confidence.

“Mr. Rong Chhun continued to say that 2.60% of the teachers responded that the quality of education is good because of the attention of students and because of the efforts of teachers who work without caring about their small or big salaries.

“He added that 52.39% of the teachers assessed that the quality of education is pretty good, and problems exist because students are absent a lot, and take their time out to earn money to support their living.

“45% of the teachers considered that the quality of education is poor, or that it has no quality, because at the schools, there are no proper exams following a set standard plan which would require 95% of the students from a class, in addition the number of students per class is too high, there is a lack of books for students, and there are many types of gambling sites around schools. Teachers earn low salaries, are not satisfied to teach, and spend time to teach additional private classes. The social environment is bad and this attracts students to be corrupt in their education [e.g. they pay some money to their teachers so that not all days when they were absent will be noted down]. If students are poor, teachers do not teach them and care only about their stomach, students are frequently absent and do not want to study because they think that they will not get jobs after they have graduated. This disappoints them.

“At the end the survey is pointing out that the [second] principle of the Millennium Development Goals is not followed successfully, which has the aim to ‘ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling,’ though this is also set as the national plan of the Royal Government. To achieve this strategic goal, education for all, and with quality, the Royal Government has to provide proper salaries for teachers, and has to provide sufficient study materials and schools.” Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, 46, 26.3.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 26 March 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #46, 26.3.2009

  • The Education Sector Has No Quality because the Teacher’s Salaries Are Small and Insufficient to Cover their Daily Livelihood Expenses
  • [The President of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers] Mr. Chea Mony Plans to Lead a Demonstration [against factories’ owners who do not release the salaries of workers, and who dismiss trade union leaders from their factories]
  • The Chi Kraeng District’s Citizens Sued the Siem Reap governor, Mr. Sou Phirin, and the Armed Forces [for their attempt to kill them, after they shot citizens resulting in four people seriously injured]

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #149, 26.3.2009

  • Conditions at the Preah Vihear Temple Is Very Tense after Nearly 100 Siamese [Thai] Troops Entered into the Veal Intry Region
  • The Cambodian Embassy in England Reacts against the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Report
  • [A leading mobile phone company of Cambodia] Mobitel Borrows US$100 Million from the International Finance Corporation [a member of the World Bank Group] to Expand Network Capacity

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1907, 26.3.2009

  • China Asks for the Creation of a New Currency for the World [to replace the dollar as the international reserve currency]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6612, 26.3.2009

  • Four Unidentified Men Came to Shoot Dead a Military Officer in His Home [Siem Reap]
  • Another House Storing and Producing Drugs Was Found in Takeo [related to the one in Phnom Penh recently raided]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4855, 26.3.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor [Hun Sen] Asks the Korean Parliament to Support the Korean Government to Help Develop Cambodia
  • The National Election Committee Prepares to Print Nearly 60,000 Ballots for [district-provincial/city] Council Elections
  • The Minister of Commerce [Mr. Cham Prasidh]: Exports of Cambodia Faces Obstacles due to Disagreement [between the Ministry of Commerce and different other institutions – the total export in 2008 was only more than US$3,356 million]
  • Canada and England Are Also Big Markets of Cambodia [in 2008, Canada accepted goods worth more than US$212 million from Cambodia and stands in second rank, and England had approx. US$164 million, while the USA, the biggest import country of Cambodian goods, had US$2,041 million]
  • Japan Provides a US$35 Million Loan for the Construction of Clean Water Factories
  • Approximately US$200 Million per Year Is Lost in Traffic Accidents

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United States Department of State Released Report on Human Rights Violation Committed by Armed Forces against Citizens – Friday, 27.2.2009

Posted on 28 February 2009. Filed under: Week 601 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 601

“Businesspeople and powerful officials used courts and armed forces such as police, soldiers, and military police to evict citizens from their land and their houses without proper compensation.

“The US Department of State released the 2008 report about many cases of human rights abuses in Cambodia, caused by armed forces to evict citizens from their houses to grab their land illegally. The report described also tortures against suspects and prisoners at prisons, and the arrests of citizens and extrajudicial killings, as well as the restriction of the freedom of expression.

“The report of the US Department of State continued that most armed forces that used violence are from the military and the police, and they are not prosecuted for what they did.

“The report added that there were 40 cases of extrajudicial killings, where 16 cases were committed by police and 15 cases by military. Frequently, tortures at prisons become normal to force to obtain answers.

“The report of the US Department of State concluded that while corruption is still widespread, land disputes and evictions of citizens from their houses are still a major problems.

“The Minister of Information and government spokesperson, H.E. Khieu Kanharith, could not be reached for comment on 26 February 2009 after the annual report was released by the US Department of State, stating that armed forces were leading the violation of human rights and are involved in extrajudicial killings in Cambodia, where 40 such cases happened.

“Recently, civil society organizations in Cambodia were involved in drafting legislation relating to the establishment of an ASEAN Human Rights Committee and an independent human rights committee in Cambodia, with fund allocated by the National Assembly every year for this task.

“Civil society officials said that the report of the US Department of State about the situation of human rights violations, evictions of citizens, and corruption occurring in Cambodia is true, especially about the extrajudicial killings, and about some perpetrators who are not brought to be prosecuted according to the law.

“Such human rights violations show a lack of efforts by the government that lets a culture of impunity exist in Cambodia. If such human rights violations still continue to happen, that means that citizens cannot protect their rights if human rights violations happen, especially the right to freedom of expression and the right to demonstrate against violations of any law.” Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #351, 27.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 27 February 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #27, 27-1.2.2009

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy: “If the King Grants an Amnesty in a Fine Case [with a fine of Riel 10 million, approx. US$2,500, charged by the National Election Committee], I Will Donate this Amount to the Kuntheak Bopha Hospital”

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #126, 27.2.2009

  • The Permanent Committee of the National Assembly Decided to Suspend Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Immunity
  • Khmer Citizens Support the Government’s Action to Close the Football Betting and Slot Machines [of Cambosix, a big betting and gambling company with many branches in Cambodia, is now closed]
  • Two Students Who Hit a Teacher Are Jailed for Six Months and Ordered to Pay US$2,000 Compensation [Phnom Penh]
  • [The president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia] Chea Mony: [the former Phnom Penh police chief, who is involved in many murder cases] Heng Pov Might Disclose the Mystery behind the Murder of His Older Brother Chea Vichea

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1884, 27.2.2009

  • [The Minister of Foreign Affairs] Goes to Attend the ASEAN Summit in Hua Hin in Thailand [scheduled to be held from 27 February to 1 March 2009]
  • Three Japanese Naval Ships Visit Cambodia
  • The Club of Cambodian Journalists Ask Journalists to Adhere to the Code of Conduct Firmly

Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #351, 27.2.2009

  • United States Department of State Released Report on Human Rights Violation Committed by Armed Forces against Citizens

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6589, 27.2.2009

  • The Tribunal Suspends the Hearing of the Complaint, Asking to Be Out of Bail for the Suspect Ieng Sary due to Health Problem
  • 18 Companies Receive Economic Concession Land of Nearly 80,000 Hectares, while 1,267 Farmers’ Families Lack Land for Cultivation in Kompong Thom
  • Billionaire Bill Gates Grants US$100 Million to Assist Research on AIDS
  • Police Against Human Trafficking and Protecting Minors Arrest an American Man in Siem Reap [for debauchery involving children]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3698, 27.2.2009

  • Sam Rainsy Asks Swiss Banks to Check Dirty Money of High-Ranking Khmer Officials Deposited There

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4832, 27.2.2009

  • America Says that the Human Rights Situation in Cambodia Is Not Yet Good
  • Cambodia Encourages the European Community to Sign an Aid Project Worth Euro 77 Million [approx. US$98 million – about the provision of finance for basic studies, commercial governance, and human rights to be implemented from 2007 to 2010]
  • 2010-2012 Public Investment Program Needs Capital of US$2.8 Billion
  • 70,000 Cambodian People Die of Smoking Cigarettes per Year [according to a research by the World Health Organization and by the Ministry of Health of Cambodia]

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Global Witness Encourages Donor Countries to Use Their Influence on the Government to Check how Oil, Gas, and Minerals Exploration Licenses Were Given – Friday, 6.2.2009

Posted on 8 February 2009. Filed under: Week 598 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 598

Global Witness released a report for 2008 with big titles on the book cover ‘Country for Sale – How Cambodia’s elite has captured the country’s extractive industries.’ This book describes mysteries, corruption, and irregularities related to the provision of concessions to foreign oil, gas, and minerals exploring companies in Cambodia – but some high-ranking officials of the Cambodian government denied all Global Witness allegations.

“Global Witness, based in London/England, an organization monitoring the exploitation of global natural resources [‘Global Witness works to increase transparency in the granting of mineral concessions, in the flow of revenues from oil and gas companies to governments and in the trading of resources’], released a [72 pages] report on 5 February 2009 with the title, Country for Sale, in which it revealed many things about top officials of the government of Cambodia, allegedly involved in and colluding with corruption, jeopardizing forests and other natural resources.

“The report of Global Witness said that during the last 15 years, 45% of the land in Cambodia has been contracted out by concessions to foreign entities, and millions of dollars were received by the government from private companies to secure their concessions – but it is known that this money was lost and did not go to the books of the Ministry of Economics and Finance. Global Witness reports that its investigations discovered that oil, gas, and mineral exploring licenses were provided secretly to ruling officials and their relatives, and especially, that they are controlled by the military of Cambodia. Those top military officials are General Ouk Koasa, the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces – RCAF – commander in charge of military development regions; Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh’s brother, Mr. Cham Borei; Prime Minister Hun Sen’s younger cousin, Okhna Dy Chouch or Hun Chouch; army commander, General Meas Sophea; a senator, Oknha Ly Yong Phat; a special advisor to Prime Minister Hun Sen and the chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights of the government, Mr. Om Yentieng; a senator and director of the Pheapimex Company, Mr. Lao Meng Khin; the RCAF commander-in-chief, General Pol Saroeun, and Oknha Try Heng.

“The report of Global Witness found that RCAF forces were deployed to guard areas rich in mineral resources such as in Preah Vihear, Stung Treng, and Pursat, and citizens’ land in those areas was grabbed through threats and violence. The report spoke also about the institution in charge of the oil and gas industry, called the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority, an institution under direct control of the government – administered by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An

“Global Witness added that all ministries, departments, institutions, or authorities do not have any power over that institution, adding that the same politicians and powerful people involved in illegal logging now take control over the oil, gas, and mineral resources, and a handful of powerful people ruling the country have awarded expensive land concessions to private companies without transparency. Global Witness stated that mineral resources and the forest in Cambodia exist only once, and when those valuable natural resources are exhausted, they will disappear forever. All persons mentioned in the allegations by Global Witness regarding corruption, like some generals, oknhas, high-ranking officials of the government, such as General Ouk Koasa, Mr. Cham Borei, Mr. Dy Chouch or Hun Chouch, General Meas Sophea, Senator Ly Yong Phat, Senator Lao Meng Khin, and Oknha Try Heng could not be reached for comment. However, some government officials who provided interviews to Global Witness, claimed that the Global Witness report exaggerates the facts and is not true.

“Global Witness found that a special advisor to Prime Minister Hun Sen and the president of the Human Rights Commission of the Royal Government of Om Yentieng, has received a mineral exploration license quietly; he said that Global Witness has distorted information about the Cambodian government for many years, adding, ‘I think that if that organization Global Witness knows what is right and wrong, and has trust towards the respect of the truth, one could call it to swear an oath with me. If I am wrong, I would die, and if I am not wrong, it [Global Witness] would die. This would be a quick and trustworthy method for the listeners to judge. But I believe that if they [Global Witness] want to lie, they do not lack continuing lying stories. Therefore I think that this is not strange and surprising, because they have lied for many years already. They have distorted information about Cambodia for many years.’

“A Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Mr. Tea Banh, reacted strongly to the Global Witness report, saying that he cannot accept allegations by this organization without any evidence. Mr. Tea Banh added that those having mineral exploration licenses have them all legally.

“The RCAF commander-in-chief, General Pol Saroeun, about whom Global Witness has written in the report, accusing him of having received a mineral exploration license quietly, denied that he is involved as a businessman, he said that he is just a military person. Mr. Pol Saroeun added, ‘No, I never had a company. I never do business. I am a soldier. Why is Global Witness accusing people like silly? They seem to look down on people too much.’

“A secretary of state of the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, Mr. Ith Prang, said that the oil resources ow being explored to be exploited in future, have not yet produced even one percent of what is expected. The Cambodian government is not stupid in managing all natural resources.

“He continued to say, ‘So far, no oil has yet been produced, we just known that there is oil. Therefore, we have not planned how to use it, because no oil has been extracted yet. But the government is not stupid in distributing revenues of its resources.’ A secretary of state of the Ministry of Environment, Mr. Prach Son, said that many oil and mineral exploration companies in Cambodia are from foreign countries, from China or from Australia. All those companies get exploration licenses in Cambodia, but they are not allowed to take raw materials to their countries.

“Global Witness has tried to ask for explanations from government officials, oknhas, generals, companies mentioned in its report, but has, so far, not received sufficient explanations. It has not even obtained a response from Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen reacting to the report since it was released officially. There is only the Li Phoeung [?] company of China that provided an explanation, but Global Witness does not show the details [original unclear – actually, only the Swedish company Lundin Petroleum responded to the inquiries of Global witness – but for information referring to their website].

“The Global Witness director, Mr. Gavin Hayman, said that what the Cambodian government should do is not to provide new concessions too quickly to private companies. The Cambodian government should rather verify and conduct audits on the concessions already provided to those private companies. He went on to say that all donor countries should put pressure on the Cambodian government not to provide new concessions too quickly to private oil, gas, or mineral exploration companies, and to verify them again. The report has found that 70 companies have already received concession contracts and are exploring minerals. Those concessions have been provided without transparency, because there is no clear system in place for providing concessions, besides delivering them to high-ranking officials of the government. Also, he voiced concern about the loss of mineral resources for which concessions have been provided to foreign companies involved in serious human rights abuses in Cambodia, and the government should work effectively to control them.

“Global Witness showed in its report that some oil exploration companies in Cambodia had paid money to the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority, and that money was probably not put into the National Treasury. The report added that oil, gas, and mineral exploration companies are required to pay kickbacks for signing up to bids for concessions with the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority. Like a company from Indonesia, PT Medco Energi Internasional, which has spent US$7.5 million to the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority. Moreover, each company having stakes in mineral exploration according to contracts, is also required to pay taxes annually. In the first year, a tax with the amount of US$800,000 was required to be paid for each concession.

“Global Witness added that in 2006 and 2007, money was not seen to have been put into the Ministry of Economy and Finance. The report said also that an oil exploration company has been exploring oil along the Tonle Sap Lake, the biggest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, which produces between 40% and 70% of fish for the Cambodian people. The Tonle Sap basin is part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Global Witness criticized donor countries for not using their influences through development funds to improve good governance, while the annual international aid for Cambodia is equal to half of the national budget.” Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #336, 6.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 6 February 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #13, 6-8.2.2009

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Appointed Ms. Ke Sovannarath Secretary-General [before she was acting secretary-general]

Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #336, 6.2.2009

  • Global Witness Encourages Donor Countries to Use Their Influence on the Government to Check how Oil, Gas, and Minerals Exploration Licenses Were Given
  • [One faction of] The Norodom Ranariddh Party Asks the Presidents of the National Assembly and of the National Election Committee to Remove [NRP secretary general] Mr. You Hockry and Mr. Sao Rany [from the other faction of the NRP] as Members of Parliament

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1866, 6.2.2009

  • Cambodia Holds the Third Economic Forum [United Nations Development Program, Asian Development Bank, World Bank, and other development partners joined the event [Note: the member of the National Assembly Ms. Mu Sochua, was denied access by bodyguards; this surprised the German ambassador so much that he skipped to participate in this event]

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #198, 6.2.2009

  • Military Police Surround the Mobitel Company and the Station of the Cambodian Television Network – CTN [of Oknha Kith Meng, for several hours] – Reason not Known
  • A Meeting of the Cambodian and Thai Ministers of Defense Will Be Held Today in Phnom Penh [to discuss border problems]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6571, 6.2.2009

  • Tragedy of a Farmer Family Who Rode a Cart Loaded with Firewood and Hit an Anti-Tank Mine, Triggering an Explosion, Killing Three People and Injuring Two More [a man and his two small sons died, his 6-year old daughter suffered serious wound, and his wife was lightly injured – Battambang]
  • A Car Coming Out from a House Pushed a [female] Student against a Wall, Killing Her [police are investigating, to ask for an arrest warrant for the car driver, also a woman]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3680, 6.2.2009

  • Real Estate Property of Ke Kim Yan Is Expropriated as Property of the Cambodian People’s Party [according to a high ranking official close to Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • [Around 20] Military Personnel of the First Region Used Violence to Evict Citizens from Their Land [and threatened to shoot those who dared to protest – Recheanukoul village, Stung Treng commune and district, Stung Treng]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4814, 6.2.2009

  • The Philippines Reduce Taxes for Goods from Cambodia
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Promises to Update Information on Its Website [after there was criticism from the public; however, confidential documents will not be published]
  • Japanese Investors Are Satisfied with Plan to Invest along Cambodian Beaches [in Koh Kong]
  • The National Bank of Cambodia Signs an Agreement with Citi Bank for Training about the Bond Market [officials of the National Bank of Cambodia will be sent to receive training in New York]
  • An Official of National Television [TVK] in Pursat Was Murdered in a Guesthouse [a woman rented a room to sleep with the murdered man, and two other men who had rented a room next door are also suspected in this robbery and murder]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3481, 6.2.2009

  • The Tokyo Government Blocks the Entry of [Thai ousted prime minister] Thaksin into Japan

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