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Teachers Group Sees ‘State of Emergency’

The Cambodian Teacher's Association has found the value of education in Cambodia decreasing, as students were leaving school and teachers were not always tending to their classes.

In interviews with 460 teachers in nine provinces, the association said Wednesday, 93 percent said students were abandoning their studies due to poverty, bribes charged by teachers, or school supply expenses; 54 percent of the teachers said they kept irregular teaching hours.

Teachers said that some students left school because they felt discouraged they would not find a job after graduation.

The association's president, Rong Chhung, said the education system had reached a "state of emergency."

"According to my survey, we show that the education system is falling, and the Cambodian government should take immediate action to prevent this," he said.

Ministry of Education officials could not be reached for comment.

Koeur Nay Leang, director-general of the Phnom Penh department of education, dismissed the findings of the survey, saying it had been conducted without the cooperation of the Ministry of Education.

Other countries faced the same difficulties in education as Cambodia, he said, and the government was in the process of reform.

Free Trade Union President Chea Mony told reporters Wednesday a weak education system had led to at least 15 percent of Cambodia's underage students to leave their studies for work in factories.