By Niem Chheng / The Phnom Penh PostThe Education, Youth and Sport Ministry has approved a request from the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam) to set up a research office and library in the Prey Veng provincial teacher training center.
The ministry has allowed DC-Cam to use the teacher training center in Prey Veng to set up an “Office of Research and Khmer Rouge Documents Library,” says a letter to DC-Cam signed by Education, Youth and Sport Minister Hang Chuon Naron and dated Aug. 15.
The office will serve as a center 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 Center and Genocide Research and Education in Cambodia, said 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 at 93.
“The director of DC-Cam has a long-term vision in requesting to form such offices in all six regional teacher training centers 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 center.
“This is to make teachers learn the history and be able to teach it based on historical fact and be politically impartial. So the education ministry has permitted us to set up offices in all six regional teacher training centers,” 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 Center.
The opening ceremony will take place on Oct. 1, he said.
Pheng said the office would play three major roles — as a library of Khmer Rouge documents, a research center 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 Tuesday that the office would play a key role in improving prospective teachers’ knowledge of history, which is one of its priorities.