Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday once again dished out gifts to students who scored top marks in this year’s grade 12 national exam.
The 108 A-grade candidates met the premier at the Peace Palace where they were furnished with 2 million riel (about $500), a Samsung tablet, and a token notebook and silver coin, according to Eang Sophalleth, an aide to Hun Sen.
The prime minister’s generosity perhaps understandably didn’t stretch as far as last year, when the 11 students who received A grades – amid a dismal pass rate of just 26 per cent – were awarded with $1,250, a motorbike, a laptop and an iPad.
Seventeen-year-old student Man Kota, who received full marks in this year’s test, said he “and others told [Hun Sen] that we were not disappointed that we got fewer gifts than last year because we all understand that there were 108 of us with A grades this year.”
Kota added that during the meeting, Hun Sen asked him about his plans for the future.
“I told him I wanted to go for a scientific degree,” he said.
All 108 students are now eligible for scholarships at universities across the country.
Following yesterday’s meeting, Sophalleth told reporters that Hun Sen had lauded the A grades “as a result of the effort made by the students themselves and by the government, which is making a good environment for the education system, as well as the teachers”.
Meanwhile, for the 44 per cent of candidates who failed to make the grade this year, the Ministry of Labour said on Monday that scholarships in vocational training are still available to them.
A statement signed by Minister Ith Samheng noted that everyone who passed and failed the exam this year, or in previous years, can apply for scholarships at “Institutes of Vocational Education and Technical Training” where they can learn construction, electronics and engineering skills among others.
Those who have completed their schooling up to grade 9 are also eligible to apply.