No ACU monitors at exams

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Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron on Thursday. Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport

The Anti-corruption Unit (ACU) has said it will not send observers to monitor this year’s Grade 12 national examinations despite having done so the last five years.

In a written statement issued on June 27, the unit also recommended that the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport improve its monitoring scheme by deploying more invigilators at each location of the tests, which are expected to take place on August 19 and 20.

Ros Soveacha, the spokesperson for the Education Ministry, said the absence of ACU’s observers “would not affect the quality of the examinations”.

After all, he noted, the ministry “continues to collaborate with the unit to solve all sorts of problems that might occur, such as corruption”.

“Previously, we had observers [from the ACU] who monitored the examination rooms. But this time we will increase the number of invigilators and assistants responsible for observing the tests,” he told The Post on Thursday.

The observer committee, Soveacha said, will consist of trainees from various teacher training programmes and will be fully responsible to monitor the final examinations of upper secondary students in the capital and 24 provinces across the country.

“In addition to invigilators, other officers will be assigned at each test location to oversee the examination preparations. They will represent the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.

“Meanwhile, the invigilators will provide additional monitoring on those officers, with the support from the assistants,” he said.

In the recent past, the Education Ministry said it was committed to upholding the highest standards in the Grade 12 national examinations by ensuring a smooth process based on fair and transparent principles.

To execute the examinations at the highest standard, Soveacha said, a concerted effort is required between the test participants, parents, employees in the education sector and other relevant parties.

“The ministry appeals to all relevant parties to adhere to the regulations set by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport. The ministry will uphold the highest standards when implementing the regulation,” he said.

ACU head Om Yentieng could not be reached for comments on Thursday.

Ouk Chhayavy, the president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association (CITA), said on Thursday that the Education Ministry should not always rely on other institutions such as the ACU to monitor its own programmes.

“On one hand, it is good to have extra resources as support, but I want the team at the ministry themselves to be responsible, and not to be under anybody’s supervision.

“All of the ministry’s top officials have doctorate [degrees], are intellectuals and very highly educated. If they feel the need to be managed and controlled by other institutions, it means that the officials’ capability remains limited,” she told The Post.

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport announced earlier this month that 119,217 candidates, including 61,031 girls, will be sitting for this year’s Grade 12 national examinations.