THE Education Ministry has warned that students and teachers caught giving and taking bribes during the ongoing Grade 12 national exams will face disciplinary action.
Around 108,000 Grade 12 students across the country yesterday took Khmer literature, social sciences, geography and chemistry exams, and exams in physics, morality, history and English are scheduled for today.
Uo Eng, deputy director general at the Education Ministry’s General Department of Education, said that cheating was commonplace
“It is not unusual, and it does not only happen in Cambodia,” he said. “It happens in other countries around the world.”
He warned, nonetheless, that anyone caught in the act would face stiff penalties.
“We will fail the candidates who use telephones in the rooms during the exams when we receive the reports from the administrators of the examination centre,” he said.
“The teachers who receive bribes from candidates will be fined or punished in line with education administrative regulations.”
Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association, said yesterday that he had already heard reports of teachers receiving between 5,000 riels (US$1.18) and 20,000 riels from students in exchange for answers to the Khmer literature and social sciences exams.
“Some of the teachers in an examination centre based in Kampong Thom were reportedly collecting about 20,000 riels per candidate to give the students the answers,” he said.
He also said teachers were bribed to turn a blind eye to cheating and copying among students.
“Monday morning we observed that some families of candidates gave the answers to their relatives at the exam centre in Preah Yukunthor High School on their phones,” he said.
Staff at the high school could not be reached on Monday.
A female student, 20, who wanted her name withheld, acknowledged giving money to teachers, but said she had only done so in order to help them cover basic expenses.
“We gave the monitors some money for petrol and food to help them live in Phnom Penh, but it was not a bribe to cheat or copy answers for an exam,” she said.
She added, though, that she did “steal the answers for chemistry and other subjects from students”.