Prime Minister Hun Sen is due to meet with the students who earned an A grade in this year’s national high school diploma exams. The meeting, scheduled to take place in February next year, will serve as “encouragement” to those who studied hard.

Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for a project to upgrade the 95km-long National Road 41 connecting Kandal province to Kampot on December 26, Hun Sen also urged each provincial administration to reward students who earned an A grade, and encouraged those who failed to apply themselves to their studies so they will be able to re-take it next year.

“A-grade students will have the opportunity to meet with me in February. We have ordered new iPads for these outstanding students,” he said.

While lauding “A” students, the premier also appeared to downplay the grade itself, saying that the most important result is a pass, as this means a student is ready for tertiary education.

This came after some commentators suggested that too much attention had been paid to A grade students.

“Let me clear this up. Regardless of the mark, the enrolment of any student who passed the exam will be accepted by a higher-education institution,” he said.

He encouraged those who failed the exams to re-take them next year, while noting that it was possible to earn an Associate’s Degree without passing the exams.

“Certain students can go to university, earn an Associate’s Degree and then re-take the high school exam. If they pass, they may continue their university education. Don’t miss out on the chance of a good education,” he added.

Now 56, Hem Sinath is the oldest candidate of this year’s high school examinations. EDUCATION MINISTRY

The prime minister recently mentioned one of the oldest candidates of this year’s exams, and one of the youngest.

Hem Sinath is a 56-year-old literacy teacher in Banteay Chhmar commune’s Thma Romeal Khan Keurt village of Banteay Meanchey province’s Thma Puok district. Although she failed the high school exams, she announced that she will re-sit them next year.

Hun Sen took to social media to encourage Sinath’s pursuit of life-long learning.

“In order to encourage long-life learning, I have contributed 10 million riel [$2,500] to 56-year-old candidate Hem Sinath, who failed the exam. I wish her success in the 2023 exam,” he said.

Heur Teang Kimhong, one of the youngest students, was just 13 years old on the day of the exam.

Kimhong passed the exam with a C grade, and has moved to Phnom Penh from Takeo province to continue his studies.

The premier said he wanted Kimhong to pursue a Master’s Degree, saying that despite his young age, he will excel in his academic career.

He suggested that Kimhong earn a science doctorate and contribute to the development of the nation.

“Now, he is studying architecture and information technology. He is enrolled at two universities at the same time,” he said.

Kampong Speu provincial governor Vei Samnang said on December 26 that the province would provide new motorcycles to 22 A grade earners in a December 28 ceremony.

He added that this is a tradition in the province, and as a way to encourage students to study harder.

“If a country lacks human resources, it cannot achieve anything. This is why we strive to promote education and encourage our students in every way,” he said.

“We do whatever we can to stop them abandoning their education, and try to motivate them to earn good grades. Last year, 33 students earned A grades, and although only 22 students managed that this year, the overall pass rates were excellent,” he concluded.

Kep provincial governor Som Piseth told The Post on December 26 that the province would provide a new motorcycle to the one student who achieved an A grade. Almost 90 per cent of the province’s students passed this year’s exams.

“Despite the disruptions caused by Covid-19, the students have all studied hard. Since 2020, the overall pass rates have been increasing year-on-year. Without being in-class for the whole school year, they have still pushed themselves and made the province proud,” he said.

He added that he had helped high school students with free extra tutorials for the three-month period before the exams took place. All of the students had rewarded his faith in their abilities and worked hard to gain entry to university.