Cambodia’s govt issues ban on private tutor sessions

A man conducts a class in a school. KT/Chor Sokunthea. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

PHNOM PENH, Mar 27, 2020, The Khmer Times. The government has announced a ban on private tutor sessions while a teacher reportedly was arrested for allegedly attempting to meet a student amid COVID-19 fears. Last week the government shut down schools as it recorded increasing number of virus cases, The Khmer Times reported.

“The [tutoring] ban is to combat COVID-19,” Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron said yesterday. “Any teacher who violated the instruction will face administrative measures.”

He added teachers under the ministry can stream lessons online.

Earlier this week Prime Minister Hun Sen highlighted a teacher who tried to teach a student in person.

“I heard an audio message about a tutoring attempt, which is prohibited,” Mr Hun Sen said. “[General] Chhay Sinarith [deputy chief of National Police] sent the voice message to Hang Chuon Naron.”

“A teacher was attempting to tutor a student,” he added. “[The teacher] was part of an independent group.”

He identified the suspect as Keo Thai from Kampong Chhnang province.

Gen Sinarith said Thai was arrested and sent to Phnom Penh Municipal Court. He added Thai broke the law for allegedly trying to tutor students amid COVID-19 fears, but the court charged him with “incitement” due to an alleged prior offence.

“[The teacher] had a lot of unrighteous ideas, not only about [tutoring],” Gen Sinarith said.

“This teacher is an old target being watched by the court,” he added. “He did not follow the law. If he did something wrong, he has to be arrested. This case has nothing to do with tutoring students.”

Ouk Chhayavy, president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association, said yesterday the teacher is a member of CITA, and said he did not try to tutor students amid COVID-19 fears.

“The teacher wanted to teach students online, he was not asking for students to gather,” Ms Chhayavy said. “He did not go against the government’s rules because we know COVID-19 is a global disease.”

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