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Students queue outside a classroom to be searched for contraband at Sisowath High School in Phnom Penh prior to the start of the nationwide Grade 12 examinations last month.
Students queue outside a classroom to be searched for contraband at Sisowath High School in Phnom Penh prior to the start of the nationwide Grade 12 examinations last month. Pha Lina

Nineteen students get score of ‘0’ for cheating

Nineteen students automatically failed last month’s national Grade-12 exit exams for bribery and bringing electronic devices and “prohibited documents” into the exam room, the Ministry of Education announced on its Facebook page yesterday.

The ministry’s discipline council, in cooperation with Anti-Corruption Unit officials, decided to disqualify the 19 students with a zero score, said Ministry spokesman Ros Salin. One student bribed a proctor, one used a cell phone to cheat, and others brought mobile phones, cheat-sheets, calculators and a smartwatch.

“They must fail automatically when they commit an error with the [exam] regulation or abuse the regulation,” Salin said. The students can retake the exam next year, he added.

Sixty-two percent of students who sat this year’s exam passed, compared to 55.8 percent last year, and only a 25.7 percent in 2014 – the first year of an extensive crackdown on rampant cheating and corruption.

San Chey, executive director of Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, welcomed the ministry’s action.

“This is a message for next year’s exam,” he said, and a “reminder for students that the ministry is really taking action against those who disobey the exam regulations”.

The ACU, which helped monitor the exam, has also questioned a teacher over allegations of bribery, and four others over “irregularities”. ACU President Om Yentieng yesterday said the investigation into those cases is scheduled to be completed in the next week or two.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Hun Sen posted on his Facebook yesterday that he will meet the 405 students who earned A grades in this year’s exam at the Peace Palace on September 21.

“I will take time to congratulate all [students] who passed the exam nationwide,” he wrote, encouraging those who failed to try harder next year. Last year, the 108 A-grade students received about $500, a Samsung tablet and a silver coin.

Eang Sophalleth, an aide to Hun Sen, said he wasn’t “aware yet” if students will receive gifts this year.

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