In the past year, more than 100 students have been dismissed from Phnom Penh schools for holding fake certificates, according to top officials at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.
The school scam involved at least 70 fake diplomas that students used to pass from the ninth to the tenth grade, and 30 bogus Bac II certificates that students used as proof that they had finished high school.
Education officials discovered the bogus diplomas and Bac II certificates as they made routine checks of the students’ credentials.
Chroeung Lim Sry, director of the ministry’s High School and General Studies Department, said 71 high school students, most of them Phnom Penh residents, bought the fake diplomas from schools in the provinces to attend schools in the city.
Roth Sokha, director of the Higher Education department, said his department found that at least 30 of the 21,557 university students in the nation hold fake Bac II certificates.
“We will not give them the certificates and we do not know where they bought the papers from,” he said. “We have asked the schools to dismiss them.”
He said that according to school rules, the students will be fined and the cases will be sent to court, but so far the ministry has only dismissed the students.
He said the students would be allowed to continue their studies if they retake the appropriate tests and pass them, but the earliest they could take the tests would be in the next school year.
Chroeung Lim Sry said many of the students who were caught are afraid to show up for the new exams.
Roth Sokha said more illegal students may be found now that the department has discovered the bogus certificates. He said education officials have begun an intensive search for more fakes.
Chroeung Lim Sry said he learned that bogus certificates start at $500. The prices are intentionally high to prevent too many students from using them. Otherwise, he said, “lots of failed students could buy fake degrees.”