Minister of Education, Youth and Sports Hang Chuon Naron said the high school diploma examinations should not be viewed as a punishment by students, but as the culmination of twelve years of acquired knowledge.
He made his remarks at a November 21 press conference on preparations for the December 5 examinations.
“Their parents have invested a lot in those 12 years of study. This is the student’s chance to repay their parents for all of their support,” he said.
Naron said that if the students had not been paying attention for to their teachers for all 12 years, then they would not pass the examination.
He stressed that the ministry carefully considers the difficulty of the exam. It has to be tough, in order to test the skills of the students, but not so tough that few can pass it. At the same time, it cannot be too easy, as this devalues the results of the exams, and makes it harder for students to go on to higher education or study abroad.
There are a total of 128,134 candidates for this year’s exams, which will be held at 221 exam centres. The ministry expects to announce the results for Phnom Penh and Kandal provinces on December 27, and the rest of the Kingdom on the following day.
The exam control committees employ more than 77,000 educators, and liaise with the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) at all stages of the process. The ACU will also assign 2,000 observers to watch the exams. The Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia (UYFC) will also participate.
Pech Pisey, executive director of Transparency International Cambodia, told The Post on November 21 that he welcomed the involvement of the ACU and UYFC, as they provided additional transparency.
“The certainty of accurate marking, as well as the possibility of students passing on their own, is essential. The involvement of the ACU is a positive one. I think that if possible it should expand the scope of this collaboration to civil society organisations working in the field of education,” he said.
Meanwhile, not rapid testing high school examination candidates for Covid-19 ahead of the exams will not pose a risk, according to Nuth Sambath, president of the Institute of Medicine, Biology and Agriculture of the Royal Academy of Cambodia.
Sambath said that cases were clearly on the decline in Cambodia, with the Ministry of Health detecting fewer than ten cases a day.
He added that the Kingdom appeared to be doing much better than its neighbours, and this could be attributed to its successful vaccination campaign. Almost 99 per cent of the eligible population has been vaccinated.
“I think the risk of an outbreak happening as a result of not testing students is outweighed by the time and money it would take to conduct wide-spread testing. As long as the students practice social distancing, wear masks and wash their hands, there will be no problems,” he said.
He said that as long as these measures were maintained, there should be no risk of an outbreak.
Minister of Education, Youth and Sport, Hang Chuon Naron said at a November 21 press conference that the education ministry would observe all of the standard Covid-19 precautions at this year’s examinations. While the ministry would not conduct testing, it encouraged all candidates to monitor their own health.
He added that if they felt unwell or had a fever, headache or severe cough, they should test themselves immediately. If the test proved positive, they should notify their exam centre, who would prepare a private room for them, ensuring that no other candidates were placed at risk.
“All candidates must wear masks to protect the safety of each other, as well as the invigilators and other observers,” he said.