In 2nd Year of Stricter Exam, Only One Report of Cheating

There was one recorded case of cheating during this year’s grade 12 exam—held on Monday and Tuesday—down from about 20 last year, when the Education Ministry implemented sweeping reforms to stamp out bribes and cheats from the exam process, according to the education minister.

Representatives of the country’s 150 exam centers, where 83,341 students completed the test, met behind closed doors with the ministry and the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) at the National Institute of Education on Wednesday to review the exam.

“I think everybody agreed that the exam went better than last year, because the students did not bring in cheat sheets or smartphones,” Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron said. “The proctors themselves…worked really hard; there was good cooperation with ACU and observers; and there was also a lot of provincial help.”

Last year’s exam saw a massive drop in the pass rate, with less than 26 percent of students succeeding on the first try. A total of just over 40 percent passed after a second-chance exam. Mr. Chuon Naron said selected teachers would begin grading this year’s tests on Sunday.

Phorn Tola, 16, was the sole cheater caught this year. He was arrested on Monday at Wat Koh High School in Phnom Penh for impersonating his older brother. Khim Vireakboth, the brother, has been banned from taking the exam for two years, and Tola was released, Mr. Chuon Naron said.

“He was forced to do it by his family, parents and brother. So he signed a contract saying he would never do it again,” he said.

ACU chairman Om Yentieng said the body was still gathering reports from its observers.

“We are compiling them because all the documents were just sent from the provinces and arrived on Wednesday,” he said. “It went two times better than last year.”

The ACU will observe the grading of the exams, according to Mr. Chuon Naron. The results will be released on September 15 and 16.

(Additional reporting by Aun Chhengpor)

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