Anti-corruption czar Om Yentieng on Wednesday applauded high school teachers for overseeing the nation’s cleanest-ever national exam earlier this month, but warned that jail time awaited anyone who is found to be corrupt at the second round of exams in October.
In a 90-minute address to teachers and education officials at the National Institute of Education in Phnom Penh, Anti-Corruption Unit chairman Mr. Yentieng laid down the law for the second round of exams, which were announced after pass rates below 30 percent were predicted by teachers and observers.
He said that of the more than 10,000 teachers who oversaw the exam, less than 500 were noted by ACU officials as not doing their job properly, before warning that at the second round, anyone whose performance was noted negatively would face legal consequences.
“There will be no exceptions at the second exam. At that time, you will at least be held in pretrial detention for one month—that would be long enough to remove your name from the payroll,” he said.
“You are the teachers and if you mistreat or cheat your own students its would not be different from a father raping his daughter.”
The ACU was called in to oversee the national exam after reformist Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron announced that it would be the lone factor in deciding university placement.
Strict oversight was placed on the more than 90,000 students who took the exam. Outside exam centers, students’ behavior suggested that many of them had not heeded the ministry’s warnings.
However, when the marking of the exams began, teachers began to predict pass rates between 10 and 30 percent, leading Prime Minister Hun Sen to call for a re-sit.
The government last week announced that the minimum salary for teachers would rise from $105 to $138 by April.
On Wednesday, Mr. Yentieng urged teachers to prove they deserved it come the October exam, as the majority of them did in the first round.
“Every teacher participated in the reform without waiting for their salary rise,” he said.
“We never thought that teachers nationwide would do so well.”