Five civil society organisations wrote an appeal to municipal and provincial authorities yesterday to prevent a purported spike in guesthouse prices when students flock to provincial centres for their grade 12 exams on August 24.
The organisations have asked the Ministry of Education to provide housing for students. Authorities and ministry officials, however maintain there is no proof that the cost of guesthouses rise.
The involved NGOs – the Affiliated Network on Social Accountability, Khmer Institute for National Development, IDEA Cambodia, Cambodian Youth Network, and Social Voice Organization – expressed disappointment over the financial burden placed on students during last year’s exam.
Because the examination is held only in provincial centres, students must travel from remote, often impoverished areas and find their own food and housing in order to take the test.
The letter claims that placing this burden on students, “causes serious impact on the morality of professional ethics of housing service in Cambodia”, and advised authorities to stop the alleged price hikes and for the ministry to provide short-term housing.
Education Ministry spokesperson Ros Salin said he had not received complaints, but the ministry last year cancelled a plan to provide free accommodation by allowing students to sleep at exam centres, ultimately deciding it was unsafe.
“The students spent 12 years in school; they, therefore, should invest a little bit during the examination days,” he said.