Recruitment examinations for the agriculture official positions which the government will be appointing to targeted communes took place at the Royal University of Phnom Penh on December 17. There were 3,381 candidates, each aiming to claim one of the 250 spots available in the first roll-out of the officials.

The exam was opened by Minister of Civil Service Hun Many and Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Dith Tina, with invigilation provided by officials from the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) and the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia.

Once recruited, the officials will be dispatched to communes in 17 provinces. The exam was prepared immediately before the starting times, to avoid any leaking of the contents of the questions, explained Many.

The exams focused on agriculture knowledge, multiple choice questions and English language skills, in addition to general knowledge and civics.

“We ensured that no questions were leaked because we prepared the questions right before start. The committee members were drawn from different institutions. After the discussions were complete, we printed the exam papers right away,” he said.

Many added that the corrections process will begin on December 18 at the Royal School of Administration and is expected to last for eight days, under strict monitoring from ACU officials and other observers.

Agriculture minister Dith Tina said he expected to the examination process to enable the recruitment of highly qualified officials who will be able to work well with local farmers.

“Our biggest goal is to recruit high qualified officials. Therefore, the preparations for the exams have been strictly considered at all stages. We have to avoid any unpleasant situation which could enable an unqualified candidate to become a future official,” he added.

The Civil Service Ministry said in a statement that the exam was conducted under strict conditions, with a ban on bringing paper or electronic devises into the examination centre as well as close monitoring to ensure there was no copying taking place. Any candidate who was absent was automatically deemed to have failed.