The government is trying to transfer the management of primary schools and kindergartens back to the control of district administrations, while presently these institutions are under the control of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, according to public remarks made by Minister of Interior Sar Kheng this week in Battambang province.

Sar Kheng said that the government wanted the district and municipal administrations to manage kindergartens and primary schools both formally and informally in the future.

He stated that Battambang province had become the first province to implement this reform policy.

“We are now in the process of summarizing and piloting the transfer of kindergarten and primary schools back to the districts for management. Under this reform policy we are using Battambang as the pilot province and then it will expand to other places.

“The transfer of management functions will make it easier for the district administrations to tackle issues in a timely manner. For example, if there is something broken at a school, the town-district administration can easily intervene and portions of the national budget will be allocated for this at the town and district level,” he said.

According to Sar Kheng, the plan to transfer management of schools at the lower levels had nothing to do with consolidating power for the interior ministry as he says some allege, but rather to bring the management of services closer to voters.

According to the Battambang provincial administration, their province is the first to implement this policy. The provincial administration conducted an internal meeting in July to plan in order to make the transfer of control go over successfully.

“The provincial administration is committed to making this work successfully so that the government can implement this nationwide and transfer all kindergartens and primary schools to the town and district administrations and also consider transferring control of secondary and high schools in the future,” the province said.

Currently, the education ministry manages all public general education institutions and the ministry has previously stated that education in kindergartens and primary schools was considered a priority and that those institutions receive the largest part of the total budget that the ministry has under its management.