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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministry mulls end to teacher exam exemptions: PM

A teacher supervises students during class activities at a Preah Vihear primary school last year.
A teacher supervises students during class activities at a Preah Vihear primary school last year. Hong Menea

Ministry mulls end to teacher exam exemptions: PM

A year after approving a Ministry of Education request to automatically admit students earning As, Bs and Cs on their Grade 12 exams into teacher training, Hun Sen on Monday said the ministry “will reconsider continuing to prioritise students” with those marks.

In comments during a speech at a graduation ceremony at Panha Chiet University, and later posted on Facebook, the premier said the ministry will consider making those students sit an exam, just like applicants who earned Ds and Es. “If there’s an examination, you should not be afraid, especially the ones receiving As,” the post reads.

Ministry of Education spokesman Ros Salin declined to comment on the remarks yesterday.

According to ministry figures from early 2015, more than 80 percent of applicants earned only Ds or Es on their exams. However, by late October, more than 1,200 B and C students had submitted their applications to become teachers, prompting the ministry to request the exemption in the first place.

Chin Chanveasna, executive director for the NGO Education Partnership, said the exam exemption – which applied retroactively to previous years – had helped attract better applicants.

With a career in teaching often a last choice, he said, “the education sector can’t get a good quality” workforce, reinforcing the need for exemptions.

San Chey, of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, however, suggested that perhaps “the prime minister wants to gain popularity among all the C, D and E students”.

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