I'm working only two hours a day, which will change I hope in coming weeks. I guess I haven't made much of an effort in looking for more work. Gosh, I've been soooo unbeliveably lazy recently. So lazy that I've even neglacted my writing.
But a bit about schools in Cambodia
Cambodian educational system is very poor mostly due to lack of well-trained teachers. Intellectuals were killed by Pol Pot and so at the end of the war there was nobody who could train new staff. At the end of the war, as I was told, anybody who could read and write would teach other people the skills. Naturally, it's getting better and better these days but there's a long way ahead Cambodia. Well qualified teachers are in demand but...
Teachers are very badly paid (ha!!! that's new, hey?!) I don't have exact figures but they earn something around 20 dollars a month (in a state school). They get so little that many teachers will charge students additionally for classes (I was recenlty told that in one of the schools students pay for they regular clesses around 500riel a day, $1=1000riel). The sum may be not big, but in a month it adds up to serious money and someof the poorest people really can't afford going to school. Although however, I've just read in LIFT, the additional to the Phom Penh Post, that this year high school graduates are best-prepared group of proscpect students in more than decade.
Universities are nests of bribery. It's a common knowledge that if you have money you don't really have to study. Buying a degree as easy as buying a motorbike. However, more and more people are becoming aware that a piece of paper is not everything and actually it should be backed by some practical skills. More and more knowlegable/reasonable people in Cambodia are trying to convice the youth that they actually should attend classes, that they should put some effort and make the most out of what they have the access to. It's well known here that Cambodian menpower loose by far the compoetiotion on the labour market with more skilled workers from Thailand or Vietnam. Lots of companies investing in Cambodia will outsource empoyees from these countries as often there are no well-qualified workers here. So, slackers beware as "Only highly qualified, multi-skilled and well-disciplined candidates will even warrant consideration from employers looking to fill high_level openings in business and organizationsfacing the need to meet international standards to remain comercially viable."
All this reminds me of what Poland is still going through when it comes to education.
Private univeristies are mashrooming.
There is some rudimentary ministerial control over them but once the school opens it produces masses of graduates with no skills whatsoever.
And everybody wants to be managers. Being a top executive here means that one is rich and doesn't have to do much. Rarely do students understand that such work needs particular knowlegde and years of experience.
I'm teaching for a profit-making school with headquaters in Phnom Phen. I taught there where I first came to Cambodia and it is a bit natural for me that I've returned. But actually I'm a bit disappointed with the fact that the institution hasn't much changed in last two years. The managemnet expects from the staff much but the thing is that everything here is ill-managed: mixed ability clesses to excess, the books are not well selected, students are not well placed. In one calss, I can have sometimes early high school and late university students, all at different levels. But the worst thing is that many students pay for courses just to get to another level without doing much. Of course not all the students. There are some smart cookies among them and to find them in priceless.
Anyway, I'm happy to be in a classroom again. I'm happy that I teach so few hours and I can, therefore, experimant with some of my new ideas. I teach for the kicks. I love it. I occasionally hate it too or rather I hate to admit sometimes that I haven't yet developed so many skills that teaching practice requires. This will come with time I believe.
I like my students a lot. They inspire me. Yes, the system is fucked up, true. Sometimes I'm annoyed with my learners that they quite don't get it that if they want to earn themselves better future, they should study. But I don't preach them, no. Who am I to do it? It's not my role. I will be happy if they learn anything. I'll be happy seeing them come to my clesses and not play truant. I'll be happy if some of them realize that people who come here care. I care even doing soooo as I am.
A little about people here who care - more is coming soon
There are soooo, soooo many people who work for people here. It's just unbelieveable - people with open hearts, good-willed people who I'll write about soon.
This I recommend for the begining:
PLEASE HAVE A LOOK AT WHAT THESE PEOPLE DO HERE!!!
We are fooding a bit here. The rainy season. The river is very, very high. Has flooded the other side of the bridge. We're still quite ok here. But I've got a feeling I'll need one of these soon: