The first day of exams for senior high school diplomas passed quietly Monday, after extra security measures were taken to stop usual widespread cheating, education officials said.
One high school teacher, however, had to be reprimanded by the Education Ministry after he was caught selling exam questions, Secretary of State Kea Sahorn said.
Further investigation revealed the questions were fakes, and did nothing to help the many students who bought them.
About 40 municipal and military police were stationed at each of the capital’s eight exam centers for the first of two days of tests. Hundreds more were deployed throughout the provinces.
This year, for the first time, the government issued a regulation banning photocopy shops from operating near exam centers, to try and prevent others from copying and providing exam papers or answers to candidates.
Kea Sahorn said he was satisfied the combination of measures has reduced the rampant cheating for which Cambodian schoolchildren have become notorious.
“It’s quiet this year. We haven’t received any problems,” he said.
Deputy Municipal Police Chief Kong Saran agreed the situation had improved: “We’re doing good. Most people understand the government’s regulation, and they behave themselves.”
But one final-year student, who asked not to be named, said he and many of his classmates had copied answers from each other’s exams as teachers turned a blind eye.
Usually, teachers move from their home provinces to proctor exams, to lessen the temptation to take bribes from their own students. This year, Kea Sahorn said, teachers were rotated in their own provinces because of an unusual number of traffic casualties last year among teachers traveling to exam centers.
Next year, the ministry plans to bring in multiple choice exam papers, which will be marked by computers in the hope of eliminating the problem of bribes to poorly paid teachers.