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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Exams bring usual financial stress

Exams bring usual financial stress

As exam time rolls around again, parents say the obligatory bribe amounts are increasing.

AS first-semester high school exams began across the country Monday, many parents cursed the endemic corruption of Cambodia's education system as they handed over cash to ensure their children passed their exams. 

Kim Dara, father of a student at Chhbar Ampov High School, recently forked out over US$50 to ensure his son passed all of his exams.

Though his son will still sit the exams, his actual score will not be recorded due to the deal his father has made with his teachers.

"This is a serious problem for me, as I am not a rich man,"  he told the Post Sunday.

 "I cannot stand the corrupt behaviour, and I think all students should be assessed by their actual capabilities, but still I am afraid my son will fail so I pay the money."

Kim Dara divvied his generous bribe between the various test subjects for which  his son was required to sit, making sure teachers of the essential subjects - mathematics and literature - received the largest amounts.  

Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association, said he has heard numerous reports of similar cases, with the general sum of 20,000 to 40,000 riels (US$4.87 to $9.74) sought per paper.

"This is a serious problem, and it's imperative the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport take measures to solve it immediately," he told the Post Sunday.

He added that if the practice was not stopped, it would seriously undermine Cambodia's education system.

"CITA does not have the authority to stop or reprimand the teachers in question, but we can send a recommendation to the ministry. However, this problem indicates a wider issue. The teachers demand this money because they are not being properly looked after by the government, and in a way they don't have any control either," he said.

However Chay Cheb, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Education, said corruption was merely hearsay.

"This rumour begins every exam day and it is not true," he told the Post.



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