“Its standard is very low.” “I do not want my children to be there.” These words were used by people to portray high school system in Cambodia.
High school education is a very crucial step for every student who wishes to pursue their knowledge in higher education. However, it seems like the system in high school, over decades, has been criticized of being mediocre in term of quality of education and management.
To respond to the problem above, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport came up with a very hopefully effective solution which is to adapt a new high school system which commenced principally in 2006 but practically in 2007 or 2008.
The new high school system differs from the old one mainly in term of specification in study goal. Students are given priority to choose whether they would study the real science or the social science once they get into the junior high school so that they do not have to just study every subject like in the old high school system.
In new high school system, classes are divided into two main parts namely, the High Level and the Fundamental Level. In High Level class, mathematic is prioritized, and therefore, only the best students in the school are allowed to enter.
The Fundamental Level, on the other hand, is more general. It is divided into other two main parts: Real Science and Social Science. Real science comprises some major subjects such as mathematic, physic, chemistry and biology which social science focuses more on moral study, geography, history and geology.
“The choice of students strongly reflects their future career,” said Mr. Sok Sovanna, director of Baktouk high school, “so they must consider it seriously before choosing a specific class since it is the point of no return.”
Correct choice is one of the most controversial issues in the changing of the system since most people think that it is not the best time for the teenager to make a choice which affect his or her own life. Nevertheless, responding to this problem, Hak Ly Hour, aged 17, a junior student at Santhormuk High School responded that people were mature enough when they are at her age. Moreover, before allowing to choose a specific class to study, students were given times to join the presentation of each class and to consult with their teachers and relative; therefore, it would not be too early to make such decision now.
In contrast to the aforementioned remark, Kang Chunny, aged 18, a junior student at Baktouk High School pointed out some of her difficulties that she was not ready to choose or determine what she was good at. Moreover, she was not sure if her choice in Social Science class was a right decision or not.
Besides the point stated above, Mr. Sok Sovanna also mentioned that in the province, it would be very hard to adapt such a system since the number of students was very limited, let alone the teachers. Therefore, those students have to migrate from province to the city to follow the system.
What is more, Mr. Ngoun Sreng Leang, a math teacher at Baktouk High School, made a criticism on the new system, especially, the use of textbook. “I could see a number of minor mistakes in the new text book, so it is very hard for students to study in such a weird system, along with the textbooks consisting of complicated mistakes.” He continued, “Yet I think it would be ok soon when the system works well.”
Overall, Mr. Sok Sovanna do believe that in the next few years the system would work effectively, and since the system is internationally recognized, he would conclude that there would be more advantages than disadvantages.