The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport has postponed the grade 12 national examinations for private schools from August 17-18 to August 27-28 so as not to clash with the upcoming national holiday scheduled from August 17-21.

The government declared the August holidays to compensate for the cancellation of the Khmer New Year holidays in April due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Minister Hang Chuon Naron told private school directors to implement the change, but examinations will continue as planned.

Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said private schools are preparing the examinations at their own institutions in cooperation with the ministry, and will follow Covid-19 prevention measures.

Soveacha said because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the ministry will allow private institutions to prepare grade 12 examinations at their own institutions.

He said the reason for changing the examination dates is to ensure they do not clash with the five-day holiday from August 17-21.

“Private institutions must request a form from the ministry to organise the grade 12 national examinations so that we can check and acknowledge the application before the end of July,” said Soveacha.

He said strict rules apply.

Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron told private school directors to implement the change, but examinations will continue as planned.

Each school has to prepare an examination centre and there must be only 10 to 15 students in each room. They have to follow guidelines of the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) during the examinations.

No date has been set for examinations in public institutions. Right now, the ministry is telling students to continue distance learning.

Cambodian Higher Education Association (Chea) chairman Heng Vanda said he has asked Naron to allow grade 12 examinations in private institutions so private schools can continue their work in providing education in Cambodia. Chea counts more than 40 private schools as members.

“We are discussing whether to let institutions prepare examination papers or if the ministry has to provide standard papers. We will discuss this issue more in the future so we can be prepared,” said Vanda.

Sovannaphumi School (SPS) CEO Khim Phon said his school will allow students in grade nine to take the final examinations at school. Grade 12 students will wait to take their examinations at the same time as students from State schools when it is organised by the ministry.

“SPS has 1,146 students in grade nine and 916 students in grade 12 who have to take examinations this year. Grade nine students will take their examinations in our schools on August 3,” he said.