The minimum wage for teachers in Cambodia is set to increase to $230 by April next year, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced on Monday.
In a speech at a graduation ceremony in Phnom Penh, he said the minimum monthly salary would increase from about $195 at present to $206 in January, before incremental increases until April, bringing the base salary to more than $230.
He also said that teachers in rural areas would get further bonuses to supplement their income, but did not specify which grade of teachers would qualify for the new salary band.
Ouk Chhhayavy, the president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association, welcomed the move, but added that the raise was not in line with cost of living increases and would continue to hurt the quality of education by encouraging teachers to take other jobs to supplement their income.
“Teachers’ low wages means they don’t have enough time to allocate to students, because their have to do other business to support their families. So it affects the students’ development, reform of education, and the country’s development,” she said.
She called for a monthly minimum wage of $375 in order to remain in line with inflation.
Sorn Chey, a rights worker with the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific, agreed.
“Even if their wages increase to 1 million riel [$245] while basic living costs on the market continue to riise, it will not meet their demands, therefore the government must strike a balance,” he said.
Education Minister Hangg Chhuon Naron and ministry spokesperson Ros Salin could not be reached.
Hun Sen has previously said he would increase the basic minimum wage for teachers to almost $250 ahead of the next election in 2018.