Teacher Huynh Thanh Teo every day comes to Chen Kieu Pagoda in Dai Tam commune, My Xuyen district, Soc Trang province to review lessons for young monks who are going to participate in Pali Roong examination organized by the provincial Patriotic Monks' Solidarity Association. He uses projector to explain words and translate meanings from the Pali into Khmer languages.

Monk Kim Chi Thanh teaches Khmer at Se Ray Ta Mon Pagoda.

Teacher Teo shared that this year, apart from classes at Chen Kieu Pagoda, he was invited to give lectures at other pagodas. “My greatest joy and pride are seeing my students pass the Pali Roong exam and be selected to study at the Southern Pali Culture Training School in Soc Trang province,” said teacher Teo.

For Tran Phen, a young monk, studying Pali language is not easy. However, thanks to teacher Teo’s enthusiastic teaching, he understood his group’s language. “Each of his classes is a lot of fun. He often lets students think and speak. That helps us remember the lesson very quickly,” Phen said.

At the age of nearly 80, teacher Lam Len in Thanh Phu commune, My Xuyen district still drives to pagodas every day to teach young monks the Khmer and Pali languages, and provide them with other important knowledge.

Teacher Lam Len said after retirement in 2004, he was invited by Khmer schools, agencies, and pagodas to teach the Pali and Khmer languages. Even though some classes are far away from home, he still tries his best to continue teaching thanks to his students’ smiles. He hoped that his students will pass the Pali Roong exam and have chances to study further.

For more than two months now, every morning at Se Ray Ta Mon Pagoda in Dao Vien hamlet, Vien Binh commune, Tran De district, the sounds of Khmer rhymes resound in a corner of the pagoda. The class manager is monk Kim Chi Thanh. Monk Thanh said that the pagoda yearly organizes free Khmer language classes for local Khmer children. This year, some 30 children have joined the class. Apart from the ethnic language, students are also taught ethics, lifestyle, good things, good traditions and cultural identities of the nation. “Through classes, the pagoda hopes to help the children not forget the language and script of their people, know about the culture of the group to preserve and develop it further. When they grow up, they can use them in studying, working, and contributing to society,” said monk Thanh.

“This is the fifth summer I've studied the mother tongue at Se Ray Ta Mon Pagoda,” said Son Vinh, an 8th grade student at Vien Binh Secondary School. He proudly added that now he can read and write Khmer.

Pagodas' opening of classes to teach Khmer for monks and children in Soc Trang province has greatly contributed to preserving and promoting Khmer language and script. At the same time, it helps Khmer children have a healthy learning environment to cultivate more knowledge.

Translated by Mai Huong