Union Repeats Charges of Exam Cheats Cheating

A national teacher’s union has again charged that some students who participated in the 2002 national examinations paid $1,000 to $1,500 to government officials to obtain the answers before taking the test.  “The officials were corrupt and the [non-cheating] students suffered an injustice on their exam,” said Rong Chun, the chief of the Cambodian Inde­pendent Teach­ers’ Association.

He said poor students who could not afford to pay the bribes will suffer because of what wealthier students have done this year.

Exam results will be an­nounced Thursday or Friday, education officials said. Union officials say it is likely that test scores will be higher this year on average than in years past because of the rampant cheating and brib­ery.

But Ministry of Education officials denied that cheating was all that widespread and predicted that test scores will be lower than in previous years be­cause of the government’s stepped up efforts to prevent cheating.

Code numbers replaced names on test forms this year, making it more difficult for corrupt officials to reward students who offered bribes, said Chroeng Limsry, head of the Department of Gen­eral Knowledge.

Chroeng Limsry said Rong Chun should ask students which teachers they gave bribes to so the teachers can be caught and punished. The national exam has been plagued by widespread corruption in years past, including at least one incident where parents and friends wrapped test answers around stones and tossed them into classrooms. Education officials blocked off the streets around the schools during this year’s test.

“They say they will fight against corruption, but in fact it was corrupt,” said 19-year-old Thy Sokun­theavy. “I’m afraid the rumors were true, but I have no money to corrupt them,” she said.

Education Minister Tol Lah said Tuesday the exam may not have been perfect, but officials continue to look for cases of cheating. “Students, please don’t worry about corruption or cheating,” he said.


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