Friday, January 11, 2008

Lolei students disrupted no more

The students at the Schools for Children of Cambodia school at Lolei, had to rope off the school grounds this week in an effort to keep tourists from wandering onto campus, photographing them in class, and disrupting their education. The school stands within one hundred meters of the entrance to the 9th-century Lolei temple ruins, which attracts hundreds of visitors each day - as part of the Roluos Group of temples about 13 kms east of Siem Reap. While some tourists enter the school grounds to use the toilets, the nearest facilities to the temple, others enter to get a glimpse of everyday Cambodian life. What tourists don't always realize is that their presence results in daily disruptions to students and teachers, making it difficult for them to focus on their lessons. The land is subject to a royal decree which prohibits building a fence, so a rope with no entry signs is the best alternative. In addition, SCC has taken other actions to address this unique problem. Discussions have been held with various tour companies who have repeatedly parked their buses on school property and allowed guests to use the school toilets. Padlocks have been provided to the school director so that bathrooms can be locked. And, a proposal has been submitted to Apsara Authority to encourage the construction of appropriate toilet facilities near the temple entrance. Nevertheless, SCC recognizes the value of travelers visiting schools and learning about the education-related challenges in Cambodia, so they have implemented scheduled school visits. The bi-weekly visits include a short presentation by SCC's General Manager and a tour of the school led by the school director. Find out more here.

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