Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport spokesman Ros Soveacha said on Monday that the quality of this year’s Grade 12 exams had continued to be improved, while a union head complained of problems arising from the newly implemented “target school” system.
Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron on Thursday appealed to students and teachers to work hard to ensure the best preparations for the Grade 12 exams which start on August 19.
“There are only two months left until the Grade 12 exams. I would like to appeal to all students to study hard. And especially, please all teachers work hard in teaching and please support extra classes and additional learning,” Chuon Naron said.
The education minister also encouraged teachers to voluntarily hold classes on Saturdays and Sundays.
Chuon Naron’s comments came during a consultation meeting on Progress of Resource Building and Functioning at Chbar Ampov High School in Phnom Penh on Thursday.
Ouk Chhayavy, the president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association (Cita), said some target school students may enter the exam hall not fully prepared as their learning had not been entirely completed.
“We saw some missing areas of learning while observing target school students, as target schools do not care whether their students’ learning has been completed or not,” she said.
Target schools came into being this year with a new curriculum and management structure.
Chhayavy said that teachers at target schools had become demoralised as they had lost benefits and students did not want to study at them.
“Target schools are [state] schools where students pay 5,000 riel per month. In the past, the students paid the money directly to teachers, which would help their livelihoods, but now it is transferred to the school’s community instead,” she added.
The “community” is the management body created to oversee the running and upkeep of the schools and decide where improvements should be made.
Chhayavy said teachers at around 100 target schools throughout Cambodia had complained of being unhappy and demoralised teaching at them.
“The target school system puts an additional burden on teachers to do more work while the salary remains the same. With regard to the [target school] strategy, I asked the ministry’s project manager and he said they don’t care whether students finish their learning schedule or not,” she said.
In response to this, Soveacha said: “The Ministry of Education has been improving the quality of learning and teaching by strengthening management and improving the ability and livelihoods of the schools’ management committees and teachers at all levels.”
A progress report as of the end of May on preparations for the Grade 12 exams showed that 119,449 candidates, of which 61,124 are girls, have registered for the exam – an increase of 6,084 candidates compared to last year.
Of this number, 45,414, (25,526 girls) are candidates in science and 74,035 (35,538 girls) in social science.
There are 202 proposed exam centres (196 last year), of which there are 75 for science and 127 for social science (an increase of 30), while there are 4,818 proposed exam rooms (an increase of 163).
Soveacha said the ministry will announce updated exam centre statistics after inspections in Phnom Penh and the provinces in late June.