The Ministry of Education on Monday announced that students nationwide will be sitting high school exit exams in December.
The ministry also announced the reopening of schools for Grade 12 students this September and advised them to get ready for final exams at the end of the year.
However, students who are set to take the exit exams have expressed concern about the disruption the pandemic has caused to their studies affecting their performances.
A student from Sovannaphumi Private School, Hong Nitmonika, said studying online at home has been difficult and has not seemed to improve her knowledge despite her best efforts to utilise the available platform.
“I haven’t enjoyed staying home and not going to school, but it’s been my only choice since they shut it in March. I understand that it is to keep us safe, but the quarantine has affected my studies, daily routine and mental health. I don’t feel ready to take the exam so soon after returning as I feel I need to catch up,” said Nitmonika.
A student from Samdech Hun Sen Phnom Penh Thmey High School, Kim Sokunnith, also admitted to feeling anxious and stressed over the upcoming exams, saying she doesn’t feel ready.
“There are many parts of the lessons which I haven’t understood online and because of the format, I could not ask what they meant. I have struggled with the system and don’t feel I have progressed nearly as much as I would have in physical classes. Also, while I have been home I have been asked to do lots of chores and been under tremendous pressure from my family, which hasn’t helped me study. I don’t feel confident taking the exams,” said Sokunnith.
Education Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said the exit exams for private schools, which received the go-ahead on August 27 and 28, were rescheduled as schools opted to participate in the national exit exams in December with public schools instead.
“The Education Ministry will inform the public further about the strategy for reopening schools, specific exam dates and related information in due course,” Soveacha said.
A student from Sisowath High School, Nuon Sothearith, said: “I’m happy that my school will be reopening again as I want to restart my education. However, in regard to the exams, I am not confident. I think I only have a 50 percent chance of passing. I hope in the time I am back, I can catch up a little,” he said.
As well as fears over taking the exit exam, Sothearith said he is also worried about the potential risk of contracting COVID-19, as lots of students will be gathering to take them in the same place.
“I feel worried about the chance of contracting COVID-19 because there’s lots of students from many different places who will be coming to take the exams,” said Sothearith.
He appealed to educational institutions to adhere to the Ministry of Health guidelines to ensure that all exam centres are clean and have virus prevention measures in place.
“I would like the Education Ministry to cooperate with the Health Ministry during the exams to prevent transmission, including by checking body temperatures, giving out masks to students, installing sanitiser stations and so on,” he said.
Chhith Vattana, from Anuwat High School, said he is also nervous about going back to school despite the fact that student numbers will be limited. However, he said he will have to quickly adapt to the changes in order to make the most of the time back before the exams.
“I’m worried about COVID-19 because I’m not sure exactly what measures the Health or Education Ministries will take during school reopenings and on examination days. However, I don’t want the exam dates to be delayed anymore either,” said Vattana.