N early 3,000 Phnom Penh University students were given the answers to multiple
choice examination questions before they sat the examination.
The move -
a bid to prevent a repeat of last year's student revolt over alleged corruption
in examinations - has been strongly criticized.
But the government and
some university officials defend it as a good way to prevent corrupt teachers
from selling examination answers, without affecting students'
The Mar 26 examination, marking the end of 1995's first
semester, was sat by Factory of Medicine, Pharmacy and Dentistry
Before the test, the students had been given 150 multiple
choice questions, with the answers circled, for each subject. Of those, 40 to 60
questions were to be used in the examination for each subject.
students had demanded they be given the examination answers, out of concern that
some unscrupulous teachers would otherwise sell them.
medical students rallied in front of the Ministry of Health to denounce
end-of-year examinations they said had been affected by corruption.
Sao Ky, vice-president of the Faculty of Medicine's student association, said
the demand for answers to the latest examination was a bid to stamp out such
Multiple choice question examinations could "eliminate
corruption by 100 per cent", he said, while also encouraging students to study
harder and research their lessons.
A foreign NGO medical worker, who did
not want to be named, disagreed.
He said that multiple choice questions
did nothing to make students study in any depth.
"I am afraid the
examination is nonsense. Some students never [attend] classes. They just spend a
few days to read the questions, and then pass the examination."
worker said the situation could lead to poorly-skilled medical graduates who
could "kill their patients".
Taing Bun Lim, vice-dean of the medical
faculty, agreed, saying: "Even [incompetent] dentists could kill
He said that the students just wanted to pass examinations, not
to learn their profession.
But his superior, faculty dean Thai Hoa,
defended the university's supplying of multiple choice questions and
The practice would make students wiser, he said, while avoiding
the sale of examination answers by teachers.
Dy Narongrith, Secretary of
State for Health, acknowledged the situation was not perfect.
we don't give the questions and answers to them now.... The problem [of student
protests at corruption] will happen like before."
"This way of holding
examinations can bring down corruption."
He was confident that students
could still learn well by using multiple choice questions and
Cambodian medical degrees are not recognized by many countries
including the United States, Australia and European nations.