Buddhism teaching

New teachers are not enthusiastic about teaching elementary school children

Schools in Phnom Penh and Kandal province complain about the lack of teachers in primary classes. They allege that new teacher candidates are not interested in teaching elementary school students.

Huot Phoung Mealea, deputy principal of Norodom Primary School, said yesterday that his school was facing a shortage of teachers as many teachers retired and new teachers were not arriving.

“Existing teachers work mornings and afternoons due to staff shortages, while a teacher is only required to teach one shift,” she said, adding that some classes were overcrowded.

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“The size of each class must not exceed 40 students. But the situation is such that the classes are overcrowded; and teachers of the younger generation mainly apply for secondary level classes only,” she said.

Ros Chan Rithy, deputy principal of Takmao Primary School, said there were only 27 teachers at his school to teach more than 900 students in two shifts from grades 1 to 6.

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Children in a class at Norodom Primary School. KT/Siv Channa

“We need more than 5 teachers for the proper functioning of the school. Unfortunately, even contract teachers are also not interested in teaching young children because the job is very difficult. »

“In primary grades, they can’t choose subjects and they have to teach all subjects, whether it’s history, math or language,” he added.

A teacher trainer at the Kandal Provincial Teacher Training College, Sek Pheap Chenda, said, “Before the Covid outbreak, thousands of teachers applied, but after Covid the number dwindled. Either the outbreak made them change their minds about becoming teachers, or because of a lack of training.

“Only 92 for secondary and secondary levels are currently in training,” she said.

Meanwhile, Ros Soveacha, spokesperson for the Ministry of Education, said the ministry is working to create mechanisms to attract competent people to work as teachers.

Soveacha said, “Each year, the Ministry of Education selects and distributes teachers according to specific needs, and teachers in difficult remote areas are encouraged with incentives.” “Teacher quality remains a top priority for the ministry, and we are addressing the teacher shortage by recruiting teachers on a contract basis.”

Teacher salaries in 2015 ranged between 500,000 riels and 1.2 million riels. In 2022, it increased from 1.2 million riels to 2.1 million riels.

  • Key words: primary school, teachers