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Ministry launches measures to combat ‘negative mindset’

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport has introduced measures to prevent negative mindsets from developing among students in public schools, after receiving complaints from parents regarding the difficulty they have to cover the cost of additional private tuition for both primary and secondary education.

The Ministry on Tuesday issued a statement, saying that private study activities have created a negative mindset among some students who feel burdened with more exams and lessons for the semester.

Other students, who cannot afford the cost of extra tuition, feel there is an inequality gap.

The Ministry previously issued guidelines aimed at improving student achievements and changing school culture by introducing model school standards across the country. Model schools aim to boost study time by at least two hours per day and with guidelines for evaluating student achievements to ensure consistent educational standards.

The Ministry has also institued a number of measures to implement these guidelines to prevent creating a negative mindset in public schools. Teachers must adhere to professional ethics and follow the guidelines to ensure an equitable study environment.

In addition, public educational institutions must prepare and implement standardised tests for all types of exams, as well as improve the quality of teaching.

The Ministry added, “Public educational institutions must not force students to take extra classes if lessons conflict with school curriculum and exams.”

All public schools must develop and implement part-time programmes to increase self-study time by at least two additional hours. Parents are asked to encourage their children to do self-study at home, it said.

Ministry spokeswoman Khuon Vichheka said that in the case of educational institutions and teachers which do not follow or act contrary to the Ministry’s instructions, then the Ministry will abide by the law and impose fines and penalties.

“Whenever irregularities are found, the Ministry will look at the severity of the problem and comply with the law,” she said.

A parent of a child attending Banteay Srei Primary School in Siem Reap said on an anonymous basis that he is not averse to students from secondary schools studying more, however he was against younger children being compelled to take additional classes.

For students from kindergarten to fifth grade, the Ministry should not allow extra-curricular teaching.

The parent thinks that kindergarten children spend too much time learning for their age.

He noted that the learning of young children should be divided evenly between teachers in school and parents at home.

“Parents send their children to school to learn, but some teachers are using them as a stepping stone to earn extra money,” he said.

Dr Quach Mengly, an education expert expressed disapproval of exploitive teaching methods because they are unethical. He feels the teaching profession may cause injustice for some children because of the gap between rich and poor families.

All educational institutions should adopt teaching methods in the classroom to improve the quality of education for students fairly, he said.

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