The Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association filed a petition to the Ministry of Education on Friday requesting an investigation into allegations of corruption during annual examinations that select students to train as secondary school teachers.
CITA president Rong Chhun claimed yesterday that some parents were paying bribes from US$1,000 to $1,500 to education officials to allow other students to sit the exam for their children on Saturday.
“The bribery in this exam was managed in a system deal between the middlemen and provincial education department officials,” he said, adding that the association had obtained information about the alleged corruption from CITA officials, students and parents. prior to the exam.
Rong Chhun said that CITA had requested that the ministry investigate in order to give poorer students the opportunity to participate fairly in the examinations.
Officials from the Education Ministry could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Him Sophal, head of the provincial education department in Prey Veng province, denied that provincial officials had been involved in corruption.
“I do not know from where Rong Chhun got this information, and it is definitely untrue,” he said, adding that he had uncovered three or four cases where students from the capital were hired to sit the exam for other students in the province.
“The department found out that they [students from Phnom Penh] did the exam instead of them, after questioning the real candidates, and commanded them to stop … otherwise they will be dismissed from the exam later on,” he said.
Him Sophal added that the examination was supervised by education officials from various provinces, exam topics were not known in advance and the papers were corrected in Phnom Penh.
He said that there were 5,008 exam participants nationwide on Saturday, and only 105 students from Prey Veng and nearly 100 students from Svay Rieng province would ultimately be selected for the training.