More than 150 candidates of this year’s Grade 12 National Examination protested in front of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport in Phnom Penh on Wednesday to demand that their results be reviewed. They dispersed after they submitted their petition to an official.
Spokesman Ros Soveacha said that while the ministry welcomes criticism, organisers achieved “perfection and effectiveness in all stages of this year’s examination through cooperation with relevant stakeholders”.
Sok Daniel, who failed the examination after receiving several Fs said: “Certain candidates who [received passing grades on] only two subjects passed the examination while other candidates who passed two subjects failed.
“I want to protest five subjects – mathematics, physics, biology, chemistry and history. I petitioned the result and the ministry reviewed my test but I don’t know how thoroughly. I cannot believe I was awarded an F for every subject.”
Speaking on condition of anonymity, another student said she had joined the protest because she wanted to know why the ministry did not reveal their methodology for grading papers.
“It makes me oblivious to how many points I received for some answers. I do not believe that I failed three subjects – physics, chemistry and history. I want the ministry to reveal the grading methods for each subject and score rankings so that I can see whether the ministry’s grading is correct,” she said.
Another student who spoke on condition of anonymity claimed to have received a D in mathematics, despite having performed exceptionally well in high school maths classes.
“I am an outstanding student. I got a D in mathematics, an A in Khmer literature and Bs in biology, chemistry and physics. I received top grades in mathematics during my studies.
“During my first semester of Grade 11, I got 120 and in my second semester, I got 124. During my first and second semesters of Grade 12, I never received a score below 90.
“A score of between 75 and 85 is graded a D, lower than I expected. I completed 95 per cent of the mathematics section and I am sure that 80 per cent of my answers were correct. I expected to get either an A or B,” he said.
Linn Soleakpagna, who also failed the test, said on Wednesday: “I cannot accept the result because I studied diligently like other students but I failed the examination while others passed.
“Certain students did not go to school and they passed. I went to school but failed. So I need justice to correct this mistake,” Soleakpagna said.
Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport spokesman Ros Soveacha told The Post on Wednesday that the ministry understands the feelings of distraught students and their families after the results were announced.
However, he said the examinations were conducted according to the principles of the law, justice, with transparency and the result was acceptable.
“Perfection and effectiveness in all stages of this year’s examination were achieved through cooperation with relevant stakeholders, especially working groups for the grading of the papers, tallying computerised scores and verifying them.
“Like in the past five years, the ministry has also received the cooperation of the Anti-Corruption Unit, the Ministry of Interior, the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia and various institutions,” he stressed.
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, an increase of 35 compared to last year.
On his Facebook page on Wednesday, Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith announced that Prime Minister Hun Sen had ordered iPads to be bought for each student who received an A.