The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport said the first day of the lower secondary school examinations for the 2021-2022 academic year on October 24 went ahead smoothly, with a total of 174,726 candidates including 95,127 females.

Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha told The Post on October 24 that the first day was completed as planned with the full cooperation of the examination centre committees, candidates and all stakeholders.

"Candidates must continue to apply the principles of the examinations when in the centre and … adhere to the health measures outlined,” he added.

Among the 174,726 candidates taking the Grade 9 exams, 173,466 were general education students, 1,076 (192 females) were from the Basic Education Equivalency Programme (BEEP), while 136 (45 females) were retaking the exam, Soveacha said.

Twenty-nine (nine females) of the students taking part were deaf, while 19 (five females) were visually impaired.

There were 1,723 examination centres with 7,816 rooms, he added.

"The exam process is handed over to the capital and provincial education departments as the organisers, maintaining the same mechanism as last year," Soveacha said.

Phnom Penh municipal education department director Hem Sinareth said the exam process in the municipal centres went without a hitch.

"The examinations went smoothly. We had a total of 63 centres, with 750 rooms for the exams in the capital. There were 17,956 candidates, 9,205 of them female, taking part,” he said.

Kongchheng Srey Neang, a Grade 9 student at the Som Em Chhmar Secondary School in Svay Rieng province, said the subjects on the first morning were Khmer Literature, Chemistry and Ecology.

"The exams were not so difficult, and the examiners were all teachers who teach at the school. We have done a lot of practice on the exam subjects, but we found Chemistry particularly difficult,” he said.

According to the ministry, this year's exams will last for two full days over October 24-25. The subjects on the morning of the first day were Khmer Literature, Chemistry and Ecology, with Physics, Geography and Morality-Civics in the afternoon.

On October 25, the subjects are Mathematics in the morning, with Biology, History and Foreign Languages in the afternoon.

The ministry will release the results of the exams on November 1.