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Med students won’t boycott test

Medical students who vowed on Sunday to boycott the first government-ordered national exams under claims of discrimination backtracked on their threats yesterday.

Da Nhel, 27, a representative of the student doctors, said that just hours after threatening to boycott the exams, which were approved by the Council of Ministers and the Ministry of Health, all 133 students decided to register for the tests.

“Our protest failed. We had no choice but to register to take the exam because it’s [a decision] from the ministry, we can’t
confront them,” Nhel said.

A staff member at the University of Health Sciences who declined to be named confirmed that “100 per cent” of medical students are now signed up to sit the tests.

A representative of the dentistry students could not be reached.

The exams – to be taken at the end of medical and dentistry degrees to determine whether students can qualify to practise – were approved under a sub-decree in 2007, but this is the first year they are being held.

More than 180 medical and dentistry students from the University of Health Sciences had threatened to join the boycott, claiming that the exams discriminate against state university students as they are not compulsory for those studying at private institutions.

The students said that because the sub-decree was signed after they had started their studies, the exams should not be compulsory.

One student, who asked not to be named, said Minister of Health Mam Bunheng tricked them into signing their names on a document that said they supported the national exams.

Bunheng could not be reached for comment. ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY ALICE CUDDY

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