City Hall has denied a request made by the Cambodia Independent Teachers Association to rally on World Teacher’s Day at Wat Phnom on October 5.
Teachers were planning to rally and submit a petition to the Education Ministry over the welfare of teachers.
CITA is demanding the government increase the minimum wage for teachers to about $500 per month, take preventive measures against corruption in schools, provide adequate equipment for students and provide a budget for teachers during national holidays.
CITA president Ouk Chhayavy said that the organisation had made a request to Phnom Penh Governor Khuong Sreng for about 150 participants to publicly celebrate the occasion.
“This year, we selected a slogan to celebrate World Teacher’s Day that goes: ‘Right to get an education, right to get quality teachers’,” Ms Chhayavy said.
She added that 150 participants, including CITA members, teachers, students, union members and international and national civil organisations, were invited to attend.
City Hall spokesman Met Meas Pheakdey said yesterday that CITA is welcome to hold a celebration, but added that celebrations would not be held at Wat Phnom and that a march is out of the question.
“Wat Phnom is a park, it’s not a place to express their opinions,” Mr Meas Pheakdey said. “We will allow them to gather and celebrate at Freedom Park.”
“We did not agree to their request because it could affect public order and disrupt traffic,” he added. “But they can select a representative if they want to file a petition.”
He noted that if the teachers failed to comply, authorities would take action against them.
“I think CITA will understand because they are teachers, which means that they’re educated and know about the law,” Mr Meas Pheakdey said. “They could face legal action if they don’t comply.”
Defiantly, Ms Chhayavy said yesterday that teachers will celebrate at Wat Phnom.
“We will still celebrate World Teacher’s Day at Wat Phnom because I have already informed Governor Khuong Sreng,” she said. “The location is easier for us to submit our petition to the Education Ministry.”
“We are not gathering to protest, we only want to express our opinion,” Ms Chhayavy added. “We don’t have guns, we only have a voice. We are not worried about the threat of a crackdown.”