The Education Ministry will use a new system to calculate the scores of national high school exam candidates to avoid mistakes which occurred last year.
Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron yesterday said that the ministry had tested the system during sample tests and will use a second computer centre to double check the scores tallied by the one that developed problems last year, although the glitch has been rectified.
“We now have two computer centres, both the old and new, and there is a method to cross-check the calculations of the results made at the first centre,” he said.
Mr Naron was at Preah Sisowath High School in Phnom Penh to open a box of examination papers during the first day of the national exams yesterday.
He noted that the first day of the exams went smoothly, although some candidates were absent or developed health problems while sitting for their papers.
Last year, the computerised calculation of students’ scores contained errors, especially in the mathematics paper, which led many students to reject the results.
The ministry rechecked their scores and students who had failed were passed.
Mr Naron yesterday reminded those sitting for the exams that candidates found to have brought prepared answers or electronic devices into the examination hall will be automatically disqualified.
“I urge all candidates to respect the rules of the ministry,” he said. “You all have to remember and follow the principle that ‘those who are able to, will pass.’”
Mr Naron expressed confidence that this year’s candidates taking the national exam will get better results than those last year because most of the students studied hard.
“I cannot estimate in advance how many students will get A grades, but I see that most of students have studied hard,” he said.
This year, the Anti-Corruption Unit did not deploy inspectors to monitor the exams, but is cooperating with the Education Ministry to take action in any untoward cases detected.
According to an Education Ministry report yesterday, 1,745 candidates were absent on the first day of the exams throughout the Kingdom.
It noted that 43 candidates also suffered from problems such as headaches, dizziness, vomiting and exhaustion, but were able to continue sitting for their tests after receiving first aid.
Earlier this month, Mr Naron requested the Health Ministry to deploy medical teams at examination centres throughout the Kingdom to help students who fall ill while sitting for their papers.
Nearly 20,000 volunteers and monitors have also been deployed to examination centres throughout to prevent cheating and bribery during the exams.
Ouk Chhayavy, president of Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association , yesterday said that the Bac II exam this year is better organised compared to previous years.
“I visited some examination centres this morning and I saw that public order outside the centres has been well managed, leading to a quiet and ideal environment for candidates to sit for their tests,” she said.
Ms Chhayavy noted that she did not know the situation inside the examination rooms, but hoped that corruption would not occur.
“I also support the efforts of the authorities to provide free accommodation and food for candidates staying far from the examination centres,” she said. “I also thank the authorities for providing free parking for candidates this year unlike last year when they were charged.”
Over the two-day examination, applicants will sit for seven subjects.
Science stream students will sit for history, biology, a foreign language, Khmer literature, mathematics, chemistry and physics papers.
Those doing social science will sit for the earth and environment, geography, history, a foreign language, Khmer literature, mathematics, and moral education papers.
Sok Keo Reaksmey, who sat for the exam at the Chaktomok secondary school centre, said that she found yesterday’s tests easy and completed all the questions.
“I think the questions were not so difficult and I could do them,” she said. “I want the ministry to continue to monitor the exams strictly to prevent cheating.”
Meas Bunyuth Phenureak, who took the exam at Preah Sisowath High School, said he managed to answer most of the questions, but not all of them.
“No one can cheat or move about in the examination room and we cannot see each other’s answers,” he said, adding that he supports the ministry’s strict reforms.
Ream Sophea, 49, who waited outside the examination centre at Daun Penh High School, yesterday said that he expected his son to pass the exam.
“I cannot help my son during his examination today, but I encouraged and supported him while taking him here,” he said. “I hope my son will pass.”
Mr Sophea said he wanted the ministry to continue monitoring the exams strictly so that Cambodian students will study hard and be able to aid the country.
On Sunday, a female student died during a traffic accident in Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changva district while on the way to check which examination room and table she had been assigned to in Kandal province’s Takhmao city.
A police report said Uy Lyly, 18, was travelling on a motorbike driven by her father at around noon when a truck hit them, causing her to die on the spot. Her father was seriously injured and taken to hospital.
The Bac II examination results will be announced on September 10 and 11.
Last year, 76,034, or 67.07 percent candidates, passed the exam, including 408 who obtained an A grade.