Students Protest Altered Admission Regulations

About 300 students protested outside Phnom Penh’s University of Health Sciences on Thursday, claiming that the Education Mini­stry’s National Exam Com­mit­tee chang­ed the rules for admission, resulting in many of the students failing to meet the requirements to apply for a second year in university.

According to an Oct 16 notice from the committee posted on the university’s message board, a total of 1,180 first-year students with the best test results would be chosen to study medicine, dentistry or pharmacology.

But when the results were re­leased Monday, only 369 students were listed as eligible for the second year, according to several students at the protest.

The committee, as well as the university, decided to change the rules of admission after the test had been taken but before the results had been released, said Tech Samnang, secretary-general of the Education Ministry’s Accreditation Committee.

The present rules state that if a student fails one of four test subjects —anatomy, biology, embryology or chemistry—they would not be allowed to move on to the second year, Tech Samnang said, adding that this was in place to maintain the high quality of the education.

“I spent much time and money to study in the first year; why do I have to study it again,” Chhun Seyha, a medical student from Kandal province said. “It is not fair that the school informs us of one thing and then did it in a different way.”

Dean of the Faculty of Medi­cine at the university, Ka Sun­baunat, said the university was not responsible for the change and that it is now up to the National Exam Committee.

“The students have a right to protest…[but] I don’t know what resolution can be given to them,” Ka Sunbaunat said.

Seng Lim Neou, director of the National Exam Committee could not be reached for comment Thursday.

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