Khmer Rouge teacher training offices approved in Prey Veng

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A DCCAM team visiting a research office in Prey Veng province. Photo by Ly Kok-Chhay (DC-Cam)

The Ministry of Education Youth and Sport has approved a request from the Documentation Centre of Cambodia (DC-Cam) to set up a research office and library in the Prey Veng provincial teacher training centre.

The ministry has allowed DC-Cam to use the teacher training centre in Prey Veng to set up an “Office of Research and Khmer Rouge Documents Library”, says a letter to DC-Cam signed by Minister of Education, Youth and Sport Hang Chuon Naron and dated August 15.

The office will serve as a centre for research on the history of the Khmer Rouge for both prospective teachers and students.

Pong-Rasy Pheng, the director of the Prey Veng Documentation Centre and Genocide Research and Education in Cambodia, said on Tuesday that the creation of the office was part of a reparations project by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) in Case 002.

Case 002 in the ECCC, commonly known as the Khmer Rouge tribunal, found Nuon Chea, the ultra-Maoist regime’s “Brother Number 2”, and Khieu Samphan, its head of state, guilty of crimes against humanity and genocide and sentenced them to life in prison.

Chea passed away earlier this month aged 93.

“The director of DC-Cam has a long-term vision in requesting to form such offices in all six regional teacher training centres across the country.

“The aim is not only to disseminate the history of the Khmer Rouge to the community but also to educate prospective teachers in each training centre.

“This is to make teachers learn the history and be able to teach it based on historical fact and be politically impartial. So the Ministry of Education has permitted us to set up offices in all six regional teacher training centres,” Pheng said.

The five other offices would be completed by 2022, he added.

Pheng said the first Office of Research and Khmer Rouge Documents Library would be called the Prey Veng Documentation Centre.

The opening ceremony will take place on October 1, he said.

Pheng said the office would play three major roles – as a library of Khmer Rouge documents, a research centre and an exhibition space for displaying photos related to Khmer Rouge history.

The office would carry out further research by collecting testimony from people in the area.

Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said on Tuesday that the office would play a key role in improving prospective teachers’ knowledge of history, which was one of its priorities.

“Improving the capacity of teachers is an important part of strengthening the educational quality,” Soveacha said.