Security was tight around Phnom Penh’s high schools on Monday morning as police deployed to prevent cheating during the nationwide junior high school exams.
In the capital, commune policemen were on guard around Chaktomuk, Sisowath and Bak Touk High Schools where the two-day ninth grade exams, being sat by more than 131,000 students around Cambodia, were being held.
Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, said by telephone that he had not received any reports of irregularities in the exam halls so far this year. But every year some students pay teachers to ensure they pass without turning up for the exam, he said, claiming that the going rate for a pass is between $50 and $70.
“This kind of bribery reduces the quality of education,” he added.
Sok Cham Rina, a 16-year-old student at Sisowath High School, said there were now rules against cheating in exams, and she didn’t need to cheat.
“I do not cheat and pay bribes during the exams because I am confident,” she said.
Rong Chhun also claimed the Education Ministry had unevenly and unfairly assigned duties to teachers for the exams. Some teachers are earning up to $75 on top of their usual pay by both proctoring and grading exams, but other teachers have been given nothing to do and are staying at home, earning nothing, he said.
“It is the responsibility of the Education Ministry to clarify this. It is not fair to other teachers,” Rong Chhun said, adding that teachers are paid $47.50 for correcting exams and $22.50 to $27.50 for proctoring them. Chroeng Lim Sry, director of the Education Ministry’s general secondary education department, said certain teachers were given double duties because they know the material well.
Pun Mono, who has five years of junior high school teaching experience and is now deputy director of Samraong school in Oddar Meanchey province’s Samraong district, said she was among those not selected to be a proctor this year.
“I am so upset that my name is not on the list,” she said. “I do not know why.”