Prime Minister Hun Sen has urged higher educational institutions to let any student who passed the high school exam take the higher education entrance exam.
The number of students sitting university and college entrance exams in the past has been reduced by institutions demanding certain school grades as a prerequisite.
In a meeting at the Peace Palace with students who passed the high school exam with A grades this year, Mr Hun Sen said the University of Health Sciences recently allowed students who passed the high school exam with any grade to take the entrance exam.
All universities and colleges should also give the same opportunity to all students for the sake of justice and to give students more motivation to compete with each other, he said.
“All universities should give the opportunity for students of all grades to take the entrance exams because we will then know their ability,” he said. “If we set a grade requirement or only allow the students who pass the exam with grade A, it is not fair.”
“I would like to ask rectors and management teams not to object. The only condition is to have the high school result to take the entrance exam,” he added. “It is not about requiring good grades. It is good to provide opportunities for all the students.”
Some universities have announced acceptance of students who have just completed the high school exam to compete for 100 scholarships without any grade requirements.
Students who passed or failed the high school exam are eligible to apply for the scholarship for an associate degree.
The University of Cambodia, which has selected students for the scholarship, said students of all grades were eligible to apply for the scholarship exam for bachelor degrees.
According to the Ministry of Education, 424 students passed the high school exam this year with A grades, 2564 students passed with Bs, 5,000 students with Cs, 9123 students with Ds and 46,657 students with Es.
Mr Hun Sen also called on all teachers to strengthen social ethics education for students to prevent wealthy people’s children using their power to look down on poor children at school.
“I really hate the children of wealthy and powerful people using the power of their parents and money to hurt poor and weak children,” he said.
“So, in schools everywhere please do not allow discrimination.
“Insults from the children of wealthy and powerful people of poor children are not welcome in society. It is disgusting.”
In the meeting, Prime Minister Hun Sen also offered all the students who passed the high school exam with grade A an iPad, 2 million riel ($500) and a souvenir Khmer silver coin.