Senior high school exams ended Tuesday with officials calling them a success, while some students said cheating was still rampant.
Kea Sahorn, secretary of state for education, credited a change in the exams’ format for reducing the long-standing tradition of students throwing questions outside school windows where accomplices write down answers and toss them back.
The returned answers were often tied to rocks that occasionally injured teachers and students.
In the past, the questions were written on a board, and the students were given three hours to answer them. This year, students were given papers with questions written on them and only two hours to finish their work. Other papers were not allowed.
Kong Saran, deputy municipal police chief, said his officers stationed at schools around the city did not report any rock throwing as encountered in the past.
“The atmosphere of the two-day examination across the capital was good. Everything was quiet and there was no cheating like before,” Kong Saran said.
But students interviewed outside Tuol Tom Pong High School in Chamkar Mon district said there was plenty of corruption and cheating in their classrooms.
Chan Savy, 17, admitted that he and other classmates each paid the teacher watching over them 3,000 to 5,000 riel to turn a blind eye to students copying off each other’s tests. Other students confirmed that cheating in the school was widespread. “This year was not as strict as before, so we could pay the teachers to shut them up,” Chan Savy said.
The Education Ministry told teachers not to be strict when spotting cheating this year for security reasons, Kea Sahorn said.
One teacher in Prey Veng pro-vince was shot last year and another beaten in Phnom Penh after cracking down on cheating.
Another student, Del Thy, 16, said he paid $50 before the exam for answers he was told came from the Education Ministry. He discovered the scam when he found the answers didn’t match.