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10 July 2002

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Although we realise that most teaching will be done in Khmer once we're gone, the fact is that computing in Cambodia is still dominated by English, so we have insisted on testing the next batch of students and teachers to make sure of their language skills. We arrived at Chay Voloman nice and early, only to find that the man-with-the-key had forgotten about the testing. Little groups of students materialised and eventually the room was opened so we could get started. The test was in two parts, a short written section and then a two minute conversation with either Ming or me on simple topics such as hobbies. Many people were nervous of course (especially the teachers!) but we could soon discern that there were two kinds of people in the room - those that could and those that couldn't. There really were very few in-betweens! Some tried to help their friends by supplying answers - I'm loathe to call it cheating, it's done so naturally and openly - so we had an amusingly large number of girls who put down playing football as their main hobby! But in the end it was easy to draw up the class lists, though not so easy to find enough students to fill the class...