Civil groups have urged Cambodian authorities to provide places for students to stay during the upcoming national high school graduate exam and prevent hotels and guesthouses from increasing room rates in all cities and provinces.
The Affiliated Network for Social Accountability for East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA-EAP), Khmer Institute for National Development, Cambodian Youth Network and Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA) asked the Ministry of Education on Monday to set up temporary accommodations for students who travel to cities from rural areas to take the exam on Aug. 24-25.
The nongovernmental organizations are concerned that room rental fees could detrimentally impact poor students from the countryside, who must travel long distances to take the tests.
San Chey, an ANSA-EAP representative, said 70-80 percent of students from the provinces would travel to cities to sit for the exam.
Most of the students come from poor families and must pay for their own transportation, food and accommodations, he said.
“It would be better if authorities talked about this with the guesthouse and hotel owners, so that they work out an understanding with students and teachers during the examination,” he said.
Ros Salin, spokesman at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, said ministry officials and other authorities would work together to inform guesthouses and hotel owners not to increase room rates during the exam period.
He encouraged students to look for places to stay before the exam, so hotel owners cannot take advantage of them by raising rates at the last minute.
“Students from the provinces can share places or rooms,” he said. “If somebody has relatives in the city, he can ask to stay with them for three days. [Students] can ask friends of their families if they can stay with them as well.”
Nearly 88,500 students will take the high school diploma test at 149 examination centers throughout the country this month.
The education ministry has said it will not offer the test a second time for those who fail the first one.
Reported by Chandara Yang for RFA’s Khmer Service. Translated by Sarada Taing. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.