The number of subjects to be tackled in this year’s Grade 12 national examinations is to be reduced from 10 to seven to lessen the burden on candidates after they aired concerns, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport has announced.
The duration of the upper secondary education final exams on August 19 and 20 will also be shortened to two days from two and a half.
“This does not affect the quality of the students’ education as they will have previously proven their learning and knowledge in semester exams taken with all 10 of the subjects,” the ministry said on its Facebook page on Sunday.
Its spokesman Ros Soveacha told The Post that the ministry was focused on strengthening the quality of learning and teaching, especially regarding the Grade 12 examinations.
Soveacha said that since reforms in 2014, 10 subjects have been taught at Grade 12, with seven to be sat in the final exams.
"This is not the first time we have reduced the subjects, it has been done since 2014," he said.
The reduction in subjects to be taken in the examination would improve the study environment and student preparation. The examinations’ quality remains high and required effort from students and for them to be well prepared, he said.
Students in the social science class will have biology, chemistry and physics removed from their examinations, with those taking the science class no longer having to sit for geography, morality-civics and environmental science papers.
“This is an important development, but will the students be happy? They have said it is easier to study for the examinations now that it has only seven subjects.
“Our teachers are not happy with this new reform,” Ouk Chhayavy, president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, told The Post.
Nov Chanmony, a chemistry teacher at Hun Sen Baribo High School in Kampong Chhnang province, told The Post that he wanted the ministry to keep all 10 subjects in the examinations.
“For the science class, geography, morality-civics and environmental science will no longer be included in the examinations, so students will not learn these subjects. They will say: ‘Why do we need to learn them?’
“The social science class will not have biology, chemistry and physics in their exams … so students will not pay full attention to studying these subjects either and their learning will be weakened,” Mony said.
Chhil Chhayleav, a 19-year-old Grade 12 student at the school, told The Post that he supported the ministry’s decision as it would enable him to put greater focus on the remaining subjects.
The Ministry of Education announced earlier this month that 119,217 candidates, including 61,031 girls, will be sitting for this year’s Grade 12 examinations.