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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - How $200 can buy exam pass

How $200 can buy exam pass

How $200 can buy exam pass

FROM June 16-18 over 22,000 senior high school students will sit their graduate

examinations administered by the Ministry of Education.

The Ministry

will also administer exams for 60,000 secondary high school students on July 12

and 160,000 primary school students on June 21 .

In the last few years

these examinations have been fraught with increasing amounts of large scale

bribery, cheating and intimidation, with the collaboration of many teachers and

Education Ministry employees who occupied important supervisory positions in

administering exams.

Some of the bribing and cheating methods are

outlined by an eleventh grade math teacher who sought anonymity in an interview

with the Post.

He said: "The principal examination supervisor, sent from

the Ministry of Education, had many ways of being corrupt because he controlled

all aspects of the testing process, oversaw both the students sitting the test

and the markers who corrected the students' papers.

"School teachers

usually just monitored the exam. If they wanted to be corrupt they normally had

to collaborate with the principal supervisor.

"The teachers would act as

middlemen. A student would give the teacher his student number and a bribe. The

teacher would keep 10 to 15 percent of the money and give the rest to the

principal supervisor. The supervisor would then pay the exam marker a small fee,

and the marker would then pass the exam paper with the relevant student number

on it."

"Alternatively students could go directly through the principal

supervisor. The students would inscribe distinctive symbols on their exam papers

which the supervisors would alert the markers to watch for when correcting

papers.

"The principal supervisor could also give some pupils secret

student numbers, and then instruct the markers to give these papers very high

marks."

"Many students prepared cheat notes to take into the examinations

to help them pass.

"Other enterprising students who had good scholastic

ability could make hundreds of dollars during an examination. They could do a

two hour exam paper in 30 minutes. They would carry carbon paper into the

examination and make copies of their answers and then sell the copies to other

students while the exam was still in progress!"

"The teachers often

caught students cheating but preferred not to make trouble. Some teachers were

worried by student threats.

"The current bribe rate to pass this year's

examinations, called Hang Chheng meaning exchange rate, is between $200-$250. It

is for a graduate pass in five subjects."

"The corruption has become so

bad that many teachers say it is the major deterrent to student learning.

 

"Some teachers say their students are no longer studying or even bothering to

coming to class."

Earlier the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport had a

pre-test exam to survey students' ability. Only 8% could pass the test.

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