Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday invited the 108 students who earned an A on last month’s national high school exam to join him at his office building in Phnom Penh, where he rewarded each with a tablet computer, an envelope of cash and a full university scholarship.
Of the more than 46,000 students who passed the exam—making them eligible to enroll in a state university—only 108 received an A grade.
At the “Peace Palace” on Tuesday, Mr. Hun Sen presented each student with $500, a Samsung tablet computer, a notebook, a silver coin and a full-ride to one of a preselected list of universities.
The 11 students who earned an A last year—when the Education Ministry instituted strict reforms to combat cheating and bribery—received $1,000 in cash, a new motorbike, a laptop and an annual scholarship of $1,500.
“A lot of people seem to criticize that the prize was not the same,” said Thach Ngounghen, 18, a graduate of Preah Sisowath High School in Phnom Penh who was among the 108.
“I studied for my future, not for the prize,” he added.