Posted on 21 December 2009
The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 644
(CAAI News Media)
“Officials of the Department of Education, Youth, and Sports of Phnom Penh said that in 2010, Phnom Penh lacks hundreds of classrooms for students, both at primary and secondary levels.
“The deputy head of the Phnom Department of Education, Youth, and Sports, Mr. Em Ham Khuon, said on 18 December 2009 that at present, there are 22 lower secondary schools and 25 high schools in Phnom Penh. Most school do not have sufficient classrooms; secondary schools lack 110 rooms, and only 8 of the 25 high schools lack 80 rooms, while primary schools lack about 100 rooms.
“Mr. Hem Ham Khuon added that at primary schools, there are not so many problems, as the Japanese government helped to build 11 buildings with 224 classrooms in 2005 and in 2007. In 2010, the Japanese government plans to help to construct 7 more buildings with 96 classrooms, spending approximately US$5,330,000 for 7 primary schools in Phnom Penh.
“Mr. Em Ham Khuon went on to say that the shortage of classrooms at the secondary level results from the increasing number of students, and it is also because most lower secondary schools are located together with primary schools, and some high schools were formed through the expansion of lower secondary schools.
“The lack of classrooms gravely affects the students’ education.
“Mr. Em Ham Khuon said that due to the lack of classrooms, some schools are forced to put up to 50 or 60 students into one classroom, beyond the standard number students in one classroom set by the Ministry of Education at 40 to 45 students. That means students have to be squeezed into the rooms. At some schools, there are three shifts per day: the first shift from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.; the second shift from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; and the third shift from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. He emphasized that the lack of classrooms affects also the curriculum of the Ministry of Education. According to the curriculum of the Ministry, in one week, there should be 34 to 36 sessions [with 45 minutes per session], but at present, due to the lack of classrooms, at some schools, there are only 27 to 28 sessions, and each school has to encourage teachers to teach more to catch up with the curriculum of the Ministry.
“Educational analysts suggested that if the Ministry of Education does not solve the lack of classrooms soon, the quality of education will deteriorate, because there are up to 50 or 60 students in one classroom, leading to disorder and making it difficult for teachers to teach, and for students to gain knowledge. When some schools try to speed up teaching the students to catch up with the curriculum of the Ministry of Education, that leads to neglecting the quality of education – they just manage to catch up with the curriculum and do not care whether students can gain anything from it or not.
“Mr. Em Ham Khuon called on the leaders of the government, on national and international organizations, and on generous people to donate funds for the construction of school buildings, as long as there is a lack of classrooms, in order to help to foster the education for students as well as to achieve a better quality of education.”
Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2129, 20-21.12.2009
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Monday, 21 December 2009