Posted on 6 September 2009
The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 628
“Though there have been some hostilities regarding border disputes, the Thai government has included Khmer language teaching into the state curriculum at many schools, following a request by the Khmer Language and Culture Association of Surin Province (LCASP).
“According to information received, the provincial Department of Education of the Province of Surin of Thailand has recently agreed to include Khmer language teaching into the curriculum at schools under the control of the Royal Government of Thailand, but the information does not specify at which levels Khmer language will be included.
“Based on that source, the agreement to include Khmer language into the curriculum was announced on 5 August 2009 in a press conference, where representatives of 30 to 40 primary and secondary schools from different districts of the province discussed the program to teach the Khmer language.
“According to that source, based on the official plan, Khmer language teaching at some state schools will be taught in two sessions per week, from primary school to secondary school, starting from Grade 1 to Grade 12, and this program will start beginning in the Svay District of Surin.
“Regarding the inclusion of Khmer language teaching into the curriculum, approved by the Thai government, a secretary of state of the [Cambodian] Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Koy Kuong, said on 4 September 2009 that he did not know about this, while the secretaries of states of the Ministry of Education, Mr. Chea Oueng and Mr. Chey Chab, could not be reached for comment, because they were busy in meetings.
“The vice-president of the Royal Academy of Cambodia [and professor of history], Dr. Ruos Chantraboth, said that the inclusion of Khmer language teaching by Thai government agencies into a state approved curriculum is good, if it is applied from primary to secondary education, because if they apply it only at universities, it is nothing new, as there have been Khmer language programs [at universities] since long ago. That is why some scholars in Thailand can use the Khmer language.
“He added that in Surin, there is an association of Mr. Chey Mongkol [who calls himself with his Thai name Chaimongkol Chalermsukjitsri on his own website], who is trying to teach the Khmer language to Khmer people there.
“Mr. Ruos Chantraboth talked about the history related to Thailand and Cambodia, saying that he did not remember the time when some provinces of Cambodia fell under the control of Thailand, but he said that there were many provinces that had been controlled by Thailand [see Historical Note on Cambodian-Thai relations in The Mirror of 20.8.2009].
“Mr. Ruos Chantraboth went on to say that the inclusion of Khmer language teaching into a state approved curriculum might be their politics to persuade Khmer people there to set themselves apart from the central Khmers [that is: from Cambodia], because if the [Thai] government would restrict its citizens, they might stand up to protest. Thus, this curriculum might show some Thai intentions; the inclusion of the Khmer language in a curriculum is not because they appreciate that Khmer is beautiful or friendly, or they want to strengthen the ties between both countries, but it is just a strategy.
“It should be noted that the Khmer Language and Culture Association of Surin Province, created by Mr. Chey Mongkol, aims to teach Khmer children there to know their own language.
“In the meantime, he had made efforts to expand his teaching and had requested the Thai government to include Khmer language teaching into the curriculum of the state, and now a source said that the Department of Education of Thailand has already agreed with this request.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2041, 5.9.2009
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Saturday, 5 September 2009