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Students given answers to stop repeat protests

Students given answers to stop repeat protests

N early 3,000 Phnom Penh University students were given the answers to multiple

choice examination questions before they sat the examination.

The move -

a bid to prevent a repeat of last year's student revolt over alleged corruption

in examinations - has been strongly criticized.

But the government and

some university officials defend it as a good way to prevent corrupt teachers

from selling examination answers, without affecting students'

learning.

The Mar 26 examination, marking the end of 1995's first

semester, was sat by Factory of Medicine, Pharmacy and Dentistry

students.

Before the test, the students had been given 150 multiple

choice questions, with the answers circled, for each subject. Of those, 40 to 60

questions were to be used in the examination for each subject.

The

students had demanded they be given the examination answers, out of concern that

some unscrupulous teachers would otherwise sell them.

Last September,

medical students rallied in front of the Ministry of Health to denounce

end-of-year examinations they said had been affected by corruption.

Chhim

Sao Ky, vice-president of the Faculty of Medicine's student association, said

the demand for answers to the latest examination was a bid to stamp out such

corruption.

Multiple choice question examinations could "eliminate

corruption by 100 per cent", he said, while also encouraging students to study

harder and research their lessons.

A foreign NGO medical worker, who did

not want to be named, disagreed.

He said that multiple choice questions

did nothing to make students study in any depth.

"I am afraid the

examination is nonsense. Some students never [attend] classes. They just spend a

few days to read the questions, and then pass the examination."

The NGO

worker said the situation could lead to poorly-skilled medical graduates who

could "kill their patients".

Taing Bun Lim, vice-dean of the medical

faculty, agreed, saying: "Even [incompetent] dentists could kill

people."

He said that the students just wanted to pass examinations, not

to learn their profession.

But his superior, faculty dean Thai Hoa,

defended the university's supplying of multiple choice questions and

answers.

The practice would make students wiser, he said, while avoiding

the sale of examination answers by teachers.

Dy Narongrith, Secretary of

State for Health, acknowledged the situation was not perfect.

"[But] if

we don't give the questions and answers to them now.... The problem [of student

protests at corruption] will happen like before."

"This way of holding

examinations can bring down corruption."

He was confident that students

could still learn well by using multiple choice questions and

answers.

Cambodian medical degrees are not recognized by many countries

including the United States, Australia and European nations.

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