The Education Ministry will reconfigure how it ranks high school graduates seeking placement at state universities as part of its campaign to promote accountability in the school system, Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron announced on Friday.
Delivering closing remarks at the Education Ministry’s annual meeting, Mr. Chuon Naron said that end-of-term grades for graduating seniors would no longer be combined with national exam scores in deciding which students get scholarships to state-run universities.
Mr. Chuon Naron said in an interview Monday that the reform was in response to reports that teachers were being bribed to inflate end-of-term scores to give students a better chance of university entry.
“There are reports that the final test scores from the school were adjusted,” he said. “For that reason, it’s better to keep [school grades and national exam scores] separate.”
The national exam, which has also historically been fraught with corruption, will take on central importance in ranking graduates, while students will be required to receive passing grades in their senior year classes in order to take the national exam.
Mr. Chuon Naron also vowed to combat leaked exam answers during his address Friday.
Rong Chhun,*president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, applauded the move to reverse the practice of combining scores, which has been in place for about a decade.
“But it cannot stop corruption,” Mr. Chhun added. “That will happen only if the salaries of teachers are decent and enough to make living.”
Heng Ratana, an 18-year-old student from Techo Hun Sen Suong High School in Kompong Cham province, also said the change was positive, but pointed out that it might ultimately encourage corruption on the national exam.
“This reform of course will eradicate corruption at sub-national level,” Ms. Ratana said.
“But I am not sure whether or not it will boost up the corruption at national level,” she added.
naren@cambodiadaily.com, wilkins@cambodiadaily.com
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