The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports is investigating the management committee of a primary school – Neak Oknha Moha Pheakdey Hun Neang Yamabiko – for asking students at the school for money to cover costs water and electricity. This investigation began after a leaked letter asking for support from parents of first graders.
“We, the Primary School Management Committee, inform all parents that with the school currently spending a lot on water, electricity and garbage disposal bills, the committee and the head of the ‘school are asking each of you to donate 20,000 riels for the 2021-2022 school year,’ said a July 14 letter obtained by The Post on July 17.
The director of the municipal education department, Hem Sinareth, said on July 17 that he had dispatched officials to investigate the case. The ministry had informed all schools that they could raise funds from donors to help develop their facilities, but that they had to follow the mechanisms established by the ministry.
The first step was to establish a committee made up of school authorities and parent representatives. A meeting will take place and a precise plan of expenses will have to be drawn up.
Parents would then contribute money on a voluntary basis, according to their ability.
“I’m working on this file to determine if the school followed ministry guidelines or if the letter was issued unilaterally without any meeting. Some principals do not understand legal issues, which can lead to allegations of poor performance. I will find out the truth in this case,” he said.
He added that schools’ budgets remained limited when it came to paying their bills. Moreover, he noted that some schools had installed more ventilators and therefore increased their expenses.
“Procedurally, we advise the school management to collect money strictly on a voluntary basis. They cannot force parents to pay,” he said.
“If the school is found to have taken action outside of ministerial guidelines, we will take disciplinary action – such as a formal written reprimand,” Sinareth continued.
He said that based on a preliminary report, the school’s management committee followed the ministry’s instructions. The committee had developed the school by filling the school campus with dirt, building paths, laying concrete and paving stones, creating gardens, repairing buildings, and installing lights and fans. .
The report says that due to lack of money to pay water, electricity and garbage bills and make repairs, the committee held a public forum with the parents of students on July 14 and succeeded to a consensus. Parents who have the possibility must each contribute 20,000 riels on a voluntary basis.
Nouch Sarin, principal of the primary school, could not be reached for comment.
Ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said school management and teachers continue to play an important role in improving the quality of learning and teaching before and during Covid-19. 19, and were expected to maintain a high standard of professional ethics.
“If this matter is a violation of that, management must take action to resolve it,” he added.