As 108,433 high school students began two and a half days of national examinations yesterday, there were allegations that some 12th graders cheated during the exams and paid bribes to proctors to turn a blind eye.
Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, said cheating was rampant and accused the Education Ministry of being in denial to the problem.
“This year even after half a day of exams the situation was shown to be becoming worse and worse. Proctors collected money from the students between 5,000 and 30,000 riel in exchange for being able to look at notes,” Mr Chhun said.
Mr Chhun said that the Education Ministry should raise the standard of education by tackling exam cheating, which includes students making phone calls to relatives to ask for help in answering questions.
However, Ou Eng, director general of the education department at the Education Ministry who visited six examinations centers yesterday, denied claims that students bribed proctors in order to cheat.
“I looked: There was not this issue. I asked the students [if they were cheating], but they answered no. Because they said no, I don’t know what to do,” Mr Eng said.
Mr Eng also denied rumors that answers to the exams were leaked then sold in answer sheets at book stalls on the sidewalks to anxious students and parents.
“The examination papers were not leaked…. The students and their parents were cheated by the book sellers,” he said.
A 21-year-old student at Preah Sisowath High School, who declined to be named for fear of retribution, said after taking his exam that he paid 25,000 riel to his proctor in exchange for allowing him to use a cheat sheet.
“I cheated because I am not so good…. If I pass my exams I hope to study at university,” the student said, adding that he also purchased exam answer sheets that were for sale yesterday around the corner from his school at a photocopy shop.
“Some of the answers on the sheets are right and some are wrong,” he said of his purchase.