Cambodia education exam policy and its irrelevance

Posted by: | Posted on: August 3, 2014

“Through education, everything is possible”, this is a phrase I am daily heard at my work place as an employee at the Calgary Board of Education (CBE), a Western styled local education school board management. Each year, the board has produced huge market-oriented labors for this sprawling city and Canada country. Hence, their up-to-date curriculum and learning policy have been constantly revamped. At their first sentence for public opinion relating to curriculum adoption domain , the question is “How can curriculum remain relevant in an increasingly global and digital world?” to notify the public opinion to shape future of their children. Their education leadership is always posed at an outstanding performance as well.

Remarkably, the student success is not measured by their high score at final exam but by their assessment on effort (attendance), homework done and participation. All these are become accumulation of their yearly schooling scores. The school adopted competency-based education which measures student achievement through traditional on-site courses, online coursework, internships and paid employments, portfolios, and prior learning assessment (PLAs). This approach is the education diversification to welcome this new trend of economic diversification.

Regardless of relevant curriculum and outstanding leadership in education, the rampant corruption on K-12 exam each year is not yet resolved for Cambodia. The school exam bribery and cheating have been so pervasive in Cambodia.

don-bosco-phnom-penh-semester-exam-2014This 2014, thousands of Khmer students are entering into the exam rooms with different expectation of “no cheat, no exam leak, no corruption etc.” in according to the promise of new Education Minister, Dr. Hang Chuon Naron. But the lingering question is how could he achieve this mission in handling with human flaws of both his staffs and meager salary instructors? He also rejected the advise from NGOs on combining the exam scores with their two semesters schooling scores to decide student achievement, or at my understanding, this final exam is counted only 50% by allocating other 50% for students’ effort at school.

Lord Buddha said “Viriyena Dhukka Miccheti” or means “effort bring us success”. Civilized countries have adopted this theory completely by assessing students through their effort rather than through the few days strict test or exam.

All students are expected to pass the K-12 through their yearly schooling performance. The exam happened only through “entrance” which mean to enter into privilege universities or high required job positions etc. Why you judge Cambodian students’ competency through these few days strict exam? It is impossible to build pragmatic human resources for future Cambodia through strict exam. Myself and many friends have passed through this system at K-12 exam experience. We are sad on this continuing exam model. During my time, I was told the prospect of strict exam occurred on the reason of no chair (space) for university enrollment. Now, universities (both state and private) are mushrooming, the excuse of fearing no space for passed students to pursue their dream of higher education is not relevant any more.

By Sophoan Seng

10 January 1979 High School 10 January 1979 High School 1 10 January 1979 High School 2 10 January 1979 High School 3 10 January 1979 High School 4