The Education Ministry on Friday issued a directive reminding students that Valentine’s Day on Thursday is not a public holiday, nor a day for romantic pursuits which go against Khmer tradition.
The directive, signed by Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron, said some students mistakenly think it is day for couples to be together and go on dates.
“This day is not a Khmer traditional holiday and over the last few years Valentine’s Day has become more popular, making youths forget about studying and commit acts which go against Khmer tradition and shame their families,” it said.
The ministry also advised public and private educational institutions to take steps to prevent inappropriate actions by their students on Valentine’s Day.
It said students should be informed about what Valentine’s Day is really about during the flag raising session in the morning.
The ministry said that public schools should strictly enforce disciplinary rules and monitor student absenteeism.
“Be in close contact with parents of schoolchildren to provide and receive information about misbehaviour by students so that they can be guided,” it said.
Sar Sokha, a ministry secretary of state, posted on his Facebook page yesterday that some students skip school on Valentine’s Day to conduct activities which dishonour Khmer culture.
“They take the day off on Febuary 14 to go dating and that is why the Ministry of Education issued this directive,” he said.
Speaking with local unions in Sen Sok district yesterday, Phnom Penh Governor Khuong Sreng appealed to youths and workers not to view February 14 as a day for romance.
He said that while love is a natural thing, they must not forget Khmer culture and traditions.
“Valentine’s Day is not about a girlfriend-boyfriend relationship but about love for parents, teachers, families, grandparents and friends,” Mr Sreng said. “So please don’t do anything that can affect your family’s honour.”
Thou Srey Deth, 22, a university student, yesterday said that some students consider February 14 as a day to show thier love for their partners and misunderstand the true meaning of Valentine’s Day.
“However, over the last few years, more youths have understood the meaning and apart from their partners they also show their love to their parents and family by giving them flowers and gifts,” she said. “But there are still some youths who have not understood the true meaning.”
Mong Samol, Preah Vihear provincial Women’s Affairs department director, yesterday said that nowadays some women and youths take February 14 as a day to show thier love for their family instead of just their partners.
She said the department will do more to educate students and women about the true meaning of Valentine’s Day.
“Some of them understand what the day means and celebrate it by showing love to their families,” she said. “But there are still some youths who do not know the true meaning of Valentine’s Day and that is why we have to educate them.”