A week ahead of the high school diploma exam scheduled for December 27-28, Minister of Education, Youth and Sport Hang Chuon Naron held a press conference to confirm that the more than 110,000 candidates will be taking the exam as planned.
Chuon Naron noted, however, that students who exhibit Covid-19 symptoms on the exam day – such as a temperature higher than 37.5 degrees Celsius – must be tested by health officials and get a negative result before being allowed to take the exam.
The minister said this year’s high school diploma exam will proceed as usual according to the ministry’s standards to avoid the impression that it will not be as rigorous in grading due to the pandemic.
“The ministry must ensure that this exam is no different from the previous years because we don’t want students to face discrimination. I think the exam has been organised in a way that the students are not being placed at a disadvantage because we’ve given them the same opportunities to study and earn their degrees like in other years,” he said.
Citing daily reports from the governing bodies in the capital and every province, Chuon Naron said the possibility that any students would have Covid-19 is very low because most of them have been vaccinated.
“If a student has Covid-19 then he or she would have received treatment for it, but so far we have not received any information indicating that any Grade 12 students have Covid-19,” he said.
To ensure that the exam day goes smoothly, the minister said all candidates must have their temperatures taken and undergo a quick health inspection, after which they will get a sticker indicating that they have passed the health check at each testing centre on December 26 and they must all wear masks.
Candidates who know they have come into direct contact with a Covid-19-infected person and are in quarantine must make a self-declaration as to their status at least one day prior to the exam.
Candidates with a temperature above 37.5C or other symptoms such as coughing, runny nose, sore throat or shortness of breath must be tested for Covid-19 at one of the health centres designated by the municipal and provincial authorities and must bring a letter confirming their negative test result for Covid-19 to the examination centre.
All candidates have two opportunities to check their names against the exam list. On December 20, they can check to see if their names are correctly spelled and then on December 26 they can check to confirm their exam centre, room number and table number.
Although high school students have widely reported some difficulties with learning online during the recent school closures, Chuon Naron said the ministry has provided additional opportunities for instruction to help them catch up by encouraging teachers to focus on grade 9 and 12 students who are taking the exams.
When the ministry reopened the schools, it required the school administrations to assess the abilities of their students and focus on the weak points that their students most needed to strengthen in order to pass the exams. Students were also provided with additional opportunities for instruction and assistance with test preparation.
According to the ministry’s press release, after the exam days of December 27-28 it will use the December 30 to January 5 period for processing the exams and then the computerised scoring and verification process will take place from January 6-16.
The ministry said a total of 114,183 candidates are registered for the exam. Each exam room will seat no more than 25 candidates, though some may contain fewer. There are 204 exam centres with 4,616 exam rooms and 31,432 committees overseeing the process.
The exam results are scheduled to be posted on the afternoon of January 18 for Phnom Penh and Kandal province, while the results for the other provinces will be posted on January 19.
The ministry has reminded all candidates that they must respect the examination rules, especially the ban on bringing any kind of electronic devices into the examination centres or rooms as any violations of the rules and regulations will result in automatic failure for the candidate committing the offence.