Students and teachers at the Andaung Po Junior High School in Svay Rieng province’s Romeas Hek district are calling for donations for the construction of three classrooms in order to offset a rise in the number of students studying at the school.
The school currently has one building with five rooms. Four are designated as classrooms, while one is reserved for teachers.
Kim Sonnary, chief of Andaung Po commune, yesterday said the school needs more classrooms to accommodate a rising number of students.
“This junior high school is facing a shortage of classrooms,” Ms Sonnary said. “There is currently only one building and the school needs three more rooms.”
Mao Sam An, a teacher at the school, said the school has resorted to makeshift classrooms covered in plastic tarp in order to accommodate students.
“The school has been in need of the additional classrooms for four or five years already,” Mr Sam An said. “Right now we are using plastic tarps to shelter the students outdoors.”
“We basically need a few more rooms, tables, chairs and teaching materials,” he added. “It has been difficult for several years. We have requested help from the Education Ministry, but there has been nothing so far.”
School principal Prum Sophal yesterday said he is now calling on the public for donations while awaiting for a response from the Education Ministry.
He noted that the number of students has risen to about 260 at the school.
“A working group came here before to measure the school before the election, but we haven’t heard from them since,” Mr Sophal said. “The school opened in 2006 and now we have about 260 students studying here.”
“We are not only requesting the ministry to help,” he added. “We are also appealing to the public to contribute money to build classrooms for this school.”
Som Sovannath, a student at the school, said yesterday in an online video that the school needs weather resistant buildings.
“We lack buildings, stationeries and toilets. Studying under a makeshift roof like that is difficult because rain water would often leak,” Mr Sovannath said. “Water makes our books wet, while wind blows our study materials away.”
Education Ministry spokesman Dy Kamboly yesterday said the ministry will go through procedures to determine the priority of Andaung Po Junior High School.
“According to procedure, the school should make a request to the district education department first. Then it will forward the request to the provincial education department. Only then will the provincial department send the request to us,” he said. “It should be understood that 4,000 schools are in need of rooms and our resources are limited. Not all requests are promptly met. We have to see first which school has priority.”