Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Start of school year delayed

Start of school year delayed

Students in class at Wat Koh High School earlier this year
Students in class at Wat Koh High School earlier this year. Public schools, which typically start in the beginning of October, will this year commence classes on November 3. Pha Lina

Start of school year delayed

Tardiness is usually discouraged within school settings, but this year, the Education Ministry is endorsing a month-long delay for the whole academic year.

Public schools, which typically start in the beginning of October, will this year commence classes on November 3, with studies continuing until the school break in August.

“We did this for two reasons: one, the national exam redo in October, and then also because of flooding,” said Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron. “Chronic flooding, especially in the Tonle Sap Lake area, meant that if we began in October, not all schools could start classes at the same time.”

Sceptics argued that the delay was instituted solely for the benefit of the grade 12 national exam sitters, and thus privileged less than 2 per cent of the nation’s three million students.

“This big change is for the few students who did not pass the national exam in August and needed a retest, compared to all the rest of the students who will now be affected,” said San Chey, coordinator for accountability NGO ANSA-EAP.

The Education Ministry, however, said that while this year was “an exceptional case”, the change may become standard practice if the new calendar goes well.

Last year, severe flooding prevented more than 500 schools from starting on time. This year, though the flooding was less dramatic – affecting an estimated 300 schools – a small handful may still be barred from opening on schedule.

“We don’t have any schools destroyed by the floods this year.… Most of the schools that were affected were nearby the river, and the water brought a lot of mud into the classrooms,” said Svay Phally, director of Kampong Cham’s Education Department, who estimated that 90 per cent of the province’s schools could start as planned, with another 10 per cent still requiring a de-mucking.

Phally’s education department also joins Koh Kong and Battambang with outstanding repair requests – including for broken roofs – from the flooding last year, an issue the ministry said it is “working on”.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Stop Russia sanctions

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said sanctions against Russia as a result of its military offensive in Ukraine should be stopped as they have produced no tangible results, and predicted that a global food crisis would ensue in 2023 as a consequence. Speaking to an audience at

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Siem Reap’s Angkor Botanical Garden opens

    The Angkor Botanical Garden was officially opened on May 19 with free entry for both local and international visitors for the first six weeks. The garden was established on a nearly 15ha plot of land in Siem Reap. “After the first six weeks, Angkor Botanical Garden

  • Pub Street on the cards for Battambang

    The Battambang Provincial Authority has announced that it is considering establishing a Pub Street in the area around the heritage buildings in Battambang town in a bid to attract more tourists. Battambang provincial governor Sok Lou told The Post that the establishment of a Pub

  • Hun Sen: Don’t react to hostility

    Prime Minister Hun Sen urged tolerance and thanked members of the Cambodian diaspora for not reacting to the hostility on display towards him by others while he was in the US to attend the May 12-13 ASEAN-US Special Summit in Washington, DC. In an audio