More than 2,000 volunteers will be deployed to observe students taking the national exam in August, the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) said Monday, with the deadline for registration expiring Tuesday.
More than 93,000 students are registered to sit the August 4 to 5 exam at 154 exam centers across the country, each of which will have a representative of the ACU present, according to Ros Salin, spokesman for the Education Ministry.
The ministry has enlisted the help of the ACU as it has prioritized cleaning up the country’s final high school exam, directing additional funds to pay exam proctors and making the exam the sole factor in determining placement of students at state universities.
Those who have volunteered to monitor the exam will be put in one of the country’s 3,779 exam rooms alongside two teachers acting as proctors, who have in the past faced widespread accusations of taking bribes to allow students to cheat.
However, while the aim of the observers is to make the national exam watertight for cheats, they will not be required to remain in the rooms they are assigned to, according to Chhay Savuth, ACU vice chairman.
“The observers will wear the card to show that they are exam observers and they can go anywhere—even inside the exam classes and prohibited areas,” Mr. Savuth said.
“But I don’t think those observers will go inside the exam class regularly, because it will affect the feeling of students.”
Mr. Savuth said the observers would be monitored and punished if they are found helping students cheat.
Mr. Salin at the Education Ministry said that the 2014 final exam was shaping up to be the “cleanest” yet.
“We have a high expectation that these will be the cleanest exams,” Mr. Salin said.
“We have the third-party observers, and the students are scared of that. That is why we think that the results will be very reliable,” he added.
Transparency International Cambodia last week withdrew its pledge to supply monitors because the ACU would not allow it to register reserve monitors, a decision the NGO said would prevent it from properly ensuring the quality of test-taking.