As of yesterday, there are now two ways to pass Cambodia’s high-stakes grade 12 national exam: demonstrate academic proficiency absorbed over more than a decade of study, or bring home a gold medal.
On Sunday, teenage taekwondo star Sorn Seavmey became the country’s first student to automatically pass the exam after her historic victory last weekend earned Cambodia long-sought gold-medal prestige.
Her unprecedented win in South Korea ushered into effect an unprecedented policy: From now on, any Cambodian gold medallist at the Asian Games or the Olympics will also earn himself or herself a diploma and university scholarship, according to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.
Six high school athletes who competed in the Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar and also failed the national exam asked the government for a special allowance, but the request was not granted.
“This is an extraordinary exception because of a high performance,” said Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron.