A hard lesson in arithmetic

When Reaksmey (not his real name) was in high school two years ago, he and his classmates were urged to attend the supplementary classes taught by their teachers before and after regular school hours. For an hour before school and two to three hours after each day, students paid teachers by the hour to attend.  And while not stated in so many words, students knew attendance was all but compulsory if they intended to succeed. … “The teachers need more money, so they force the children to study,” an English teacher at a high school in Sen Sok commune summed up. Less than 10 per cent of Cambodia’s state budget for 2012 has been set aside for education – US$251 million out of $2.7 billion. Public school teachers’ salaries are correspondingly low. … According to the English teacher, forcing extra lessons on students is not a practice that sits well with his colleagues. “The teachers themselves do not want to do it. They say, ‘If I had more salary, I would stop’,” he said with a shrug.