Prime Minister Says Test Scores Warning to Students

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday said the pass rate of 25 percent in last month’s grade 12 national exam served as a warning that students could no longer pay their way through school and urged students who failed the exam to embrace their second chance.

Speaking at the National Institute of Education, Mr. Hun Sen said in order to pass the exam, which will now be held under strict conditions, students would have to build knowledge throughout their schooling rather than paying their way to pass grades.

“The only way is to study hard,” Mr. Hun Sen said of passing the exam, which was policed by the Anti-Corruption Unit this year, resulting in a steep drop from last year’s pass rate of 86 percent.

“Bribery or ineffective teachers who change the scores are not the answer, it just leads to a lack of competent human resources,” he said.

“Now, I think that parents and students know that they need to start to study hard from the bottom level and not wait until grade 12, because when they arrive there they will meet obstacles.”

As it became apparent that a minority of almost 90,000 candidates would pass the national exam, the prime minister announced last month that failures would get a second chance in October.

The Ministry of Education on Monday released study kits for the four subjects that will be tested—math, biology, chemistry and physics—and will soon begin holding study sessions for more than 60,000 students eligible for the re-sit.

The prime minister on Monday told those students to make the most of their second chance and warned that in the future, those who do not prepare may not be treated so favorably.

“So please nephews and nieces, study hard from now until [the second exam]. If you study hard, you will have a chance to pass but if you do not, you will repeat the classes again next year and wait for the exam,” he said.

“And next year, it is not certain that there will be a second exam.”

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