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Students line up before taking their Grade-12 exams at Sisowath High School in Phnom Penh last month.
Students line up before taking their Grade-12 exams at Sisowath High School in Phnom Penh last month. Pha Lina

Teachers, officials called over exam ‘irregularities’

The Anti-Corruption Unit has ordered three teachers and two Ministry of Education officials to appear for questioning over alleged bribes and other “irregularities” during last week’s high-stakes Grade-12 national exam. Four summonses were issued on Tuesday, with the accused expected to appear at the ACU early next week.

A fifth individual, a teacher, was already questioned on Monday, for allegedly having taken money from students during the exam, which took place on August 22 and 23. ACU President Om Yentieng yesterday said the individuals are suspected of having violated the Ministry of Education’s regulations during the exam and during the grading process.

“We suspect that they committed illegal acts,” he said, adding he could not “explain in detail” the precise nature of those acts.

Expected to appear at the ACU on Monday are Phnom Penh high school teachers Yi Sreynget and Chaing Chanhourt, Education Ministry deputy director-general Chivu Ratha, and Pov Vy, chief deputy at the ministry’s regulation department.

Hourn Mony Leasmy, who teaches at Toul Ampil High School, was identified by the summons as the suspect alleged to have taken money from students.

One of the five being questioned had oversight of the centre grading the chemistry portion of the exam, according to the summons, which did not identify the suspect.

Ministry of Education spokesman Ros Salin yesterday said all ministry officials were aware of the regulations for the exam, adding that he didn’t believe the violations were likely serious.

He said he didn’t know whether those who are being questioned deviated from the regulations “unintentionally” or “intentionally”, but that it might simply be a matter of providing clarification.

Transparency International Cambodia executive director Preap Kol said he expected “that there could be more people that could be accused or be subject of a complaint”. “It’s the duty of the ACU to investigate objectively,” he said. “We want the teachers, if found to be guilty, to be punished under the law.”

San Chey, executive director of Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, however, said it was the ministry that should be taking action, not the ACU, adding that the alleged bribery case was “minor” compared to other corruption cases.

“However, it’s still a lesson learned,” he said.

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