A TOTAL of 117,062 students sat for their high school examinations nationwide on Monday, braving incessant rains and the marauding floods in some provinces, said the Ministry of Education.
And the number of candidates this year was much higher compared to last year’s 103,112 students.
Spending some $5 million for the entire examination process, the ministry put in place the necessary infrastructure to ward off heavy rains. It also deployed enough manpower to ensure the crucial two-day examinations went smoothly.
Education Minister Hang Choun Naron said this year, the floods posed a major challenge but school authorities were well prepared to handle the examinations.
Among the 196 examination centres, only one in Kampot province had to be relocated due to the heavy rainfall.
“Due to reforms in our education system over the last five years, the exams progressed smoothly as teachers and students were better prepared.
“On the first day, there were no cases of students not bringing their documents or taking electronic devices into the examination hall. It has changed dramatically over the last few years,” Choun Naron said yesterday at the opening of the sealed examination papers at Preah Sisowath High School in Phnom Penh.
There were also no major hiccups, even though there were a few health complaints from students on the first day of the examinations. However, they were given immediate treatment and returned to their examination halls, he said.
According to the ministry’s statistics, of the total number of candidates, 71,354 were males and 45,708 females.
The candidates were divided into two streams – 51.7 per cent were in natural science and 48.3 per cent in the social science category.
This year, 6,000 invigilators from the Anti Corruption Unit were also present in centres to monitor the examinations.
Kampot provincial governor Cheav Tay said the continuous rain was a menace as it caused flooding in the area.
“The Kampot Provincial Teacher Training Center was flooded due to continuous rain so we decided to relocate the examination centre to the Vattanak Vichea High School which has 20 rooms,” he said.
In an effort to assist them, none of the candidates was required to pay parking fees for their motorcycles in any of the nine examination centres, he said.
Students and parents were satisfied with the way the ministry conducted this year’s examination.
Yoeun Ratana, a candidate at the Chea Sim Boeung Keng Kang High School, said the morning papers were not very difficult and he is confident of passing the examinations.
“This year, the examination rules were slightly stricter. Teachers and observers were very careful with the papers taken into the examination halls,” the 19-year-old said.
Nuon Yorng, from Spean Thmor commune, Dangkor district, who accompanied his children and relatives to the Chea Sim Boeung Keng Kang High School for the examinations, told The Post that the system has improved a lot compared to previous years.
“Today’s examinations are different from my generation. Students can only pass unless they are really prepared and there is strict discipline in schools. I support that,” he said.
Cambodia-based Affiliated Network for Social Accountability executive director San Chey said the ministry had strengthened examination rules, and that this was a good sign. But he said the quality of the examination was far more important.
“We see the education ministry has matured in organising the examinations and their procedures are effective. Examinations have gone smoothly so far this year,” he said.