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Students take the grade 12 national exam in Phnom Penh earlier this year.
Students take the grade 12 national exam in Phnom Penh earlier this year. Pha Lina

Education Ministry investigates test bribe

The Ministry of Education yesterday said it is creating a committee to investigate an alleged case of a student bribing education officials in Battambang with $650 to give him a passing grade 12 exam score in 2014.

The investigation followed Tuesday reports in local media claiming that Oeng Ngor Hok and Chhorn Chheang, senior officials in of Battambang’s education department, colluded to accept the bribe from a student who failed the standardised test in 2014 but still received a preliminary high school certificate.

“If an education official is found guilty, that official would be punished according to the administration’s principles,” education spokesman Ros Salin said, not ruling out the possibility of “other punishment”.

In 2014, the ministry instituted sweeping reforms to its grade 12 testing, which was previously rife with cheating. The measures saw pass rates plummet.

Chheang yesterday denied having anything to do with the student. He accused the media of perpetrating the scandal to “damage his reputation” and “destroy the prestige of the Cambodian education system”.

An anonymous source inside the provincial education department leaked evidence of the malfeasance to the media.

Some of the documents show that the student at Preah Monivong High School got a failing score on his test, but his high school certificate showed that he received a passing grade of “D”.

Also, the student’s room and seat numbers on some of his pre-test documents didn’t match those on his post-test documents.

Preap Kol, the executive director of Transparency International Cambodia, said that such investigations weren’t rare, but that punishments for such malfeasance were.

Additional reporting by Igor Kossov

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