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Schools toughen up on exam cheats

Schools toughen up on exam cheats

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Grade 12 students are blessed by Buddhist monks during a ceremony yesterday at Wat Samrong Andeth in Phnom Penh. Grade 12 final exams begin today. Photograph: Pha Lina/Phnom Penh Post

Anxiety levels will peak as students across the nation take the senior high school examination begining this morning, but they’re not the only ones who will feel the pressure.

Educators are seeking ways to stamp out cheating, which in recent years has affected the integrity of the exams, as widespread collusion between exam proctors and teachers have resulted in exam answers being leaked to students ahead of the test.

Rong Chhun, the president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, last week suggested to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MOEYS) that taking a preventive approach to exam-centre cheating might reduce the problem on test day.

According to MOEYS, 110,000 students nationwide will sit the senior high school exam from today to Wednesday.

In a letter issued last Friday, Rong Chhun said that this year again a number of exam supervisors are cooperating with the grade 12 teachers to make the answer sheet available for students by photocopying them and selling them.

CITA brought the issue to the attention of MOEYS last year in response to similar reports of cheating by exam monitors.

Last year, teachers in Koh Kong and Battambang province were fined administrative penalties after they were caught making answer sheets for the students at the exam centre.

“In order to procure the accuracy, justice and acceptance of the running of the senior high school exam, we would like to suggest the ministry to take tough measures in preventing all problems influencing the exam,” Chhun said.

Mok Van, secretary of state of MOEYS said “the principles of the ministry always prioritise the quality of education”.

“The ministry itself wants to select the outstanding students throughout the examination,” he said.

Van added that the ministry issued a warning to all students, parents and relevant individuals to guarantee the absence of bribery, collusion and cheating during the exam.

“Committing bribery, cheating and copying answer sheets is the biggest concern for the ministry,” Van said.

Leading up to the exam, many students seek to bolster their grades by cheating or relying on prayer and superstition, he added.

Self-confident Tan Soksan, a student from Russey Keo High School, was well prepared for the exam because he had adopted the tried and true approach of working hard.

“I am one of the [school’s] outstanding students and have never failed the exam among all subjects,” Soksan said. “So I hold a high expectation of [getting] 85 per cent, to pass the exam.”

Another student from Russey Keo said he had developed a test-taking phobia so he went to the pagoda to get an anointment from a monk to get rid of it.

“Now, I am instilled with frustration and fear,” he said while checking the location of his exam on a list at Wat Phnom centre.

He also bought a number of lesson sheets from the photocopy shop in an attempt to cheat during the real exam.

“Of course, the real knowledge is derived from hard work and real practise,” said Thavy.

“But during the exam we are in need of some extra copies for cheating because we are unable to remember and know it all.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Khouth Sophak Chakrya at [email protected]

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