Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - 62 per cent of students pass Grade 12 exam

62 per cent of students pass Grade 12 exam

Monks check their Grade-12 national exam results on Saturday morning at a Phnom Penh high school. Photo supplied
Monks check their Grade-12 national exam results on Saturday morning at a Phnom Penh high school. Photo supplied

62 per cent of students pass Grade 12 exam

The third year of Grade-12 exit exams since a major overhaul of a system ridden with cheating has again produced reason for optimism, with 62 percent of students passing the now tightly monitored national test.

A total of 89,661 students sat the exam on August 22 and 23, with 55,753 passing, according to official results released on Saturday and yesterday by the Ministry of Education.

The figures represent an improvement from last year’s pass rate of 55.8 percent, which significantly improved on the disastrous 25.7 percent pass rate of 2014, the first year in which the government cracked down on widespread cheating.

And while the bulk of those who passed – 38,117 – barely made it with a grade of E, the number of students who aced the exam jumped to 405, from only 108 last year. By comparison, just 11 students in the country earned an A in 2014.

Phnom Penh had the most A’s this year with 183, followed by Siem Reap with 36 and Battambang with 34.

Ministry spokesman Ros Salin said the improvement in the passage rate proves that a variety of other reforms implemented by Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron – including curriculum changes and improved teacher training are proving effective.

It also shows that students’ mindsets about the exam are changing, he added, calling it a successful collaboration among students, parents, the ministry and the government’s Anti-Corruption Unit, which has overseen enforcement.

“That’s why we are very proud of the outcome that we have this year,” he said yesterday. “The grade A [performers] increased. [The students] have real competence in terms of knowledge.”

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

ACU officials could not be reached for comment.

Meun Rathana, 19, was one of several students who spoke to the Post on Saturday as they checked their results at the capital’s Sisowath High School.

Rathana said the exam results exceeded her expectation as she had been “nervous” about her “abilities”. She earned a B. “I did the exam myself,” she said. “I did not cheat.”

Seventeen-year-old Xom Kimmey, meanwhile, said that she was more than “happy” with a D.

“I had hoped that I would pass with a grade D,” she said near a board where scores had been posted.

“The results were like I guessed.”

But not everyone had a reason to celebrate. Chrm Molika said that while she had studied a lot, she had still failed.

“I will try to study again,” she said in tears. “I won’t stop. I want to pass.”

Preap Kol, executive director of Transparency International in Cambodia, yesterday said this year’s results are an indication of improvement in terms of students’ knowledge. They are working harder to prepare themselves for the exam because they know they can’t cheat, he said.

However, there’s still room for improvement.

“Although the overall passage rate has increased, students still need to earn better marks,” he said.

San Chey, executive director of good governance NGO the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said his organisation had heard from a third party that there were errors with an exercise in the chemistry and biology portion of the exam, and students had been automatically given 15 points for chemistry and five points for biology to compensate.

However, the Education Ministry’s Salin flatly denied there had been errors in the examination. Regardless, Chey said, the pass numbers showed legitimate improvement from the nation’s students.

“The candidates are getting better,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Draft law on state of emergency pending finalisation

    Prime Minister Hun Sen will lead a top-level meeting on Tuesdays to review the draft law on imposing a state of emergency. Meantime, he has decided to close all casinos in Cambodia effective April 1. In the press conference after the National Assembly met today, Hun

  • State of emergency on table amid pandemic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen, his deputy prime ministers and legal team will meet on Tuesday to review the draft law on declaring a state of emergency, as Covid-19 cases rose to 107 in the Kingdom on Monday. Speaking at a press conference after a parliament meeting

  • Stranded passengers petition UK for help

    Some 10,521 people have signed an online petition calling on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and relevant officials to fly nearly 200 passengers out of Cambodia. The petition is targeted at 15,000 people. Most of the passengers are British nationals, who are stranded in Cambodia after airlines cancelled

  • Covid-19 Pandemic: Force majeure and legal consequences

    Is the Covid-19 pandemic considered an event of force majeure? The World Health Organisation declared the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak a pandemic on March 11. Following this declaration, the Ministry of Health and other ministries have taken various legal and administrative measures to prevent the rapid

  • Many in limbo as tension heightens

    As the Kingdom restricts travel and prepares for a state of emergency, some foreigners in Cambodia are scrambling for a way home. Foreign embassies in Phnom Penh are making efforts to get their citizens out, but cancelled flights have become common due to the coronavirus

  • PM set to mend ties with US

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has responded to US Congressman Ted Yoho, saying he is ready to improve Cambodia-US relations, and not take up issues of disagreements which have become a barrier between the two countries’ bilateral cooperation. His response to Yoho came after the congressman