The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on June 19 announced its 60 most-outstanding students nationwide in the subjects of Khmer literature, mathematics and physics in grades 9 and 12 for the 2022 academic year after a weeklong contest with 480 students participating.
According to the ministry's announcement, these outstanding students will receive awards from the government, including medals for the winners in first to third places, an outstanding student certificate, prize money based on their ranking and various other items from sponsors.
The proclamation, signed by education minister Hang Chuon Naron, said the students in first place will receive 3,500,000 riel ($880). The students in places two through 10 will receive incrementally lower amounts than that, with the 10th-placed student getting 800,000 riel.
At the closing ceremony for the contest on June 19 in Siem Reap province, Chuon Naron said the former winners of Cambodia's most-outstanding students contest have made the Kingdom proud by participating in various other academic contests and winning further medals in international competitions, showing the moderately superior nature of Cambodia’s human resources potential on the international stage.
The ministry's press statement said it organises the national most-outstanding students contest annually as an opportunity for outstanding and capable students to demonstrate their abilities and as an opportunity for the ministry to find ways to support these gifted students and try to ensure that they have the opportunity to pursue higher education.
The contest had been cancelled for the past two years prior to this one due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Chuon Naron stated that the judges for the contest at all levels conducted it professionally and with respect for the “principles of law, justice and transparency” to arrive at their results.
The minister urged teachers and school administrators as well as education departments to identify outstanding students in primary and secondary schools in order to provide them with added support and assistance.
He urged them to find ways to provide support to outstanding students who are facing difficulties with both living conditions and learning, and to provide educational direction by mentoring outstanding students so that they can pursue their studies fully because they are important resources for the nation’s development in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
"Compile the [contest winners] experiences on how to study to become outstanding students to share them with other students and provide additional training to the winners and grade “A” students so as to be more competitive in regional and international competitions," the minister stated.
According to a statement from the contest's organising committee, this year 480 students from 294 middle schools and 1,812 high schools nationwide took part in the contest, with 240 grade 9 finalists and 240 grade 12 finalists.
Yong Kim Eng, president of the People's Centre for Development and Peace,
said that encouraging outstanding students is a good thing because they are capable of developing the country in the future and they are outstanding human resources whose capabilities should be trained even further.
"In order to have more outstanding people, they need to be encouraged. This contest serves as encouragement and provides a model for young people or students to motivate them to study hard to win honour and acclaim from the ministry and from the government so they take pride in their efforts," he said.
According to Kim Eng, when there is a clear incentive system and a spotlight shined the best students by the education ministry, then more outstanding students will be found and they will get more opportunities for pursuing further studies which will lead to higher education levels that will allow them to continue to help society in the future.
"I think we should not just think about the immediate awards. Incentives should be about their learning outcomes and future opportunities and helping them to become more capable and outstanding," he added.