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‘All pass’: Grade 12 students allowed to skip national exams

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Grade 12 students queue before entering an examination centre in Phnom Penh last year. Heng Chivoan

‘All pass’: Grade 12 students allowed to skip national exams

Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that Grade 12 National Examination candidates who plan to sit for the exams on January 11, 2021 will all pass automatically.

This is because the government has yet to put an end to the November 28 event – the first community transmission of Covid-19 in Cambodia.

The decision came on December 15 as he addressed people across the country about the Covid-19 pandemic situation.

“It is an encouragement to join the fight against Covid-19 through students and youths ... because this is the obligation of political rights holders to ensure the peace of the country.

“So, I say that during the 2019-2020 academic years, all high school candidates pass the national exam. They [should] work hard to start enrolling in a university,” he said.

“Providing passing or failing scores is one thing. We must accept what has happened to our country and to the world.

“The quality of education has declined a little bit, and I do see the difficulties in not taking the exams. But this person fails, that person passes. If it is so difficult, I get all of them to pass the exams,” he added.

Hun Sen said that his announcement on national exams will make the students happy, because they don’t need to fear day after day about contracting Covid-19.

Although they take the exams, they don’t pass. Some don’t take the exams because they are fearful. We don’t have a good choice but to do now. They cannot take the exams together. Exams at each university cannot be held because I don’t allow the exams to be held,” he said.

Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport spokesman Ros Soveacha said on December 15: “The ministry respects and accepts the recommendation by Samdech Techo Prime Minister [Hun Sen] for internal discussion and then will inform this case soon.”

A Ministry of Education report and seen by The Post said that high school exam candidates this year totalled 121,108. There are 113,080 exam candidates from state schools, of whom 59,804 are female candidates. There are 8,028 exam candidates from private schools, of whom 4,104 are female candidates.

Federation of Education Services in Cambodia president Pech Bolen supported the decision by the prime minister because it can reduce spending and other risks in these difficult times due to the Covid-19 problem nowadays.

“The high school examination doesn’t determine knowledge, studies and work of students. So allowing students to pass the examination enables them to continue studies at university levels or technical and professional training,” he said.

A Grade 12 student named Lasi Mana was happy to hear Hun Sen’s announcement.

“As long as they pass this Grade 12 examination, it is good. What is more important is we have work and continue [our] studies at universities.

“But for those who think that it is not good because they don’t [have the chance to] demonstrate their capacities. For me, I think a majority of students think that as long as they pass the examination, it is good,” she said.

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