After more than 150 candidates of this year’s Grade 12 National Examination protested on Wednesday, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport said it had formed a committee to review the issue and find a solution that will provide the students with confidence that the results were correct.
The ministry did not provide any details of what the committee would be tasked with or how it planned to satisfy the protesting students.
Instead, it focused on outlining the great lengths it had taken to ensure that there were no errors in grading the examination papers.
The candidates submitted a petition to the ministry on Wednesday demanding that their results be reviewed and requesting the ministry to reveal their methodology for grading papers.
Many of the students said they had received top grades during their studies, and were expecting A or B grades in the examinations, only to be told they had been given Fs.
Another student said: “Certain candidates who [received passing grades on] only two subjects passed the examination, while other candidates who passed two subjects failed.
The Ministry of Education’s press release on Thursday acknowledged that some candidates had protested because they did not believe they had failed and added that others were not satisfied with Bs or Cs when they were convinced they deserved As.
But the ministry maintained that the examinations had a thorough technical monitoring mechanism.
It said committees were established and composed of lecturers and teachers who were highly experienced in grading papers. The results were then passed through a more technical reviewing committee.
“The grading of the candidates’ papers was conducted in a confidential and fair manner, with two professors scoring each worksheet to ensure consistency,” the ministry said.
It said it had redesigned the computerised scoring system, upgraded the hardware and used new software.
The ministry also had a mechanism to monitor the scores in line with technical protocols, as well as the verification and scrutiny committees.
Computer scoring officials were recruited through competency tests and had undergone additional technical training, the ministry said.
Spokesman Ros Soveacha told The Post on Thursday that the ministry welcomed constructive criticism and responded when necessary.
Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association president Ouk Chayavy told The Post that it was right that the ministry had formed a committee to review the protesting students’ grades, as it would allow them to receive closure.
“We have to take responsibility for them and ensure their sadness at failing despite their hard work is not because we have neglected anything,” she said.
The nationwide results for the examinations were announced on Tuesday – 79,052 of 117,043 candidates or 67.54 per cent of students passed – an increase of 1.33 per cent compared to last year.
This year, 443 candidates were awarded As, 35 more than last year, with 141 of those in Phnom Penh.
Fresh News reported on Wednesday that Prime Minister Hun Sen would meet with the A-grade students on October 7, and Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith announced on his Facebook page the same day that Hun Sen had ordered iPads to be bought for each of them.