1970 there were approximately 200,000 teachers in Cambodia,
and as part of a campaign by the Khmer Rouge to eliminate
educated people, only 5,000 were still alive in 1979.
The legacy of the Pol Pot era influences the current
reality of teachers today, as the education system was
largely destroyed and finding qualified teachers to
replace those that were murdered has been extremely
there are over 80,000 teachers in Cambodia , and the
majority live in poverty and suffer unacceptable working
conditions. The Royal Government of Cambodia's current
education policy offers little hope that this situation
will be resolved. CITA operates to organize teachers
to work together with CITA to improve their living standards
through lobbying the government.
primary problem teachers face is vastly inadequate pay
of, on average $30-$60 per month. To put this
into context, the cost of purchasing sufficient food
to meet basic calorie requirements is $19.80 per month
(or 66% of a teachers basic salary). Compounding the
problem, there has been double-digit inflation since
2008, and, although inflation is expected to return
to a trend of 5% in 2010, there has been an erosion
in real income. Salary levels make it impossible for
teachers to afford the basic necessities of food, housing,
clothes, medicines, and rent as well as to support children
and elderly relatives. This leaves aside the
charitable donations expected in a Buddhist society.
addition to the fundamental problem of low pay, teachers
face the following issues:
Jobs: The vast majority of teachers take a second
job to survive.
Pay : Compounding the issue of the inadequacy
in pay is its often late arrival, making it difficult
for teachers to budget effectively.
: There are many instances of money being
“cut” from teachers' salaries before they are received.
of Formal Contracts : Teachers' terms and
conditions are governed by civil services regulations
and thus teacher's working conditions are not negotiated.
Protection : Article 46.2 of the Cambodian constitution
states that “Women shall not lose their job because
of pregnancy. Women shall have the right to
take maternity leave and full pay...”. However,
the UN has identified that in reality “the enforcement
of the labor laws are still weak....[There is a]
lack of monitoring of the application of the law...[and]
limited awareness raising about the rights under
conditions for teachers would also dramatically improve
the education system as a whole. For example,
studies have found that there exists significant teacher
absenteeism and lack of preparation for classes due
to teachers' need to take a second job or due to substandard
conditions in schools. This directly affects the
children of Cambodia , who receive inadequate and inconsistent
schooling, and are sometimes unjustly required to subsidize
their teachers' salaries to attend classes or receive
passing grades. The continued neglect of teachers'
rights was making education reform difficult.
Without the right to organize or to appeal decisions,
and a recognized presence in the decision-making process,
teachers play no role in school or systemic improvements.