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JUBA CITY - 20 Nov 2023

Certificate of Primary Education Examinations kickoff across the country

Pupils sitting examinations at Buluk Primary School in Juba. (Photo: Radio Tamazuj)
Pupils sitting examinations at Buluk Primary School in Juba. (Photo: Radio Tamazuj)

Over 69,000 pupils on Monday started sitting for the Certificate of Primary Education across the country.

Speaking during the start of the exams at Buluk Primary School in Juba, Martin Tako Moyi, the Deputy Minister of General Education and Instruction, said they have tried their best to deliver the examination papers to all centers across the country under very difficult circumstances.

He revealed that they fell short of delivering the examinations to one center in Uror County in Jonglei State where planes could not land and that 24 candidates there will miss the exams.

“God granted us success with only one center in Jonglei State, the center in Uror County with 24 candidates missing because it proved beyond our control,” he said. “The plane went several times but they could not find a place to land because the whole area is submerged in water.”

The minister warned candidates against examination malpractice, saying any school or students found in the act would have their results nullified.

“I also appeal to you to avoid malpractices. Do not copy from anybody, and do not do anything that is not acceptable because we do not want to cancel the results of any school. Any malpractice or anything you try to copy will be nullified and the consequence will not only to you but your family who prepared you, your teachers who prepared you for eight years to come and sit,” Tako stressed. “I also appeal to invigilators, security personnel, staff, and others that they should not temper with anything. Do not help students cheat because you will be destroying this country. We want everything to go as arranged so that we produce clean results.”

For his part, Vice President Hussein Abdelbagi Akol lauded the efforts of the Ministry of Education in making sure that this year’s examination is conducted by the academic calendar.

“This particular day would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of the Ministry of General Education,” he said. “I therefore, in a special way, wish to congratulate the Minister of General Education and the entire staff for their commitment and dedication to ensure that the Primary Leaving Examination 2023 is conducted within the specified calendar despite the numerous challenges.”

The vice president also warned against examination malpractices, saying it has threatened the credibility of South Sudan`s education system.

“In the recent past, our examination system and by extension, the education system was under serious credibility threats. Cheating in exams and other malpractices had taken root and slowly becoming the norm. I am happy that the Ministry of General Education last year tried to put mechanisms in place to rout out this backward practice with great success,” he said. “In this regard, I call upon the teachers or supervisors to put in place stringent measures to ensure that the success achieved so far in primary examination administration is sustained so that our certificates can be respected and honored in the neighboring region and beyond.”

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj at the examination center in Buluk, Ahmed Jidu Khamis, an adult pupil living with a disability and sitting the examination under the accelerated learning program, said he is not just sitting for the exams for the sake of the certificate but wants to encourage the young people to enroll in school.   

“Today I came for the primary leaving exams not to get the certificate to find a job but to encourage the youths to study,” he stated. “I am now old I want to be a role model to everybody because I am unable to walk but want to continue with my education.”

Another candidate from the Accelerated Learning Program and a mother of three, Aker Teng, said she decided to enroll in school to learn English because she initially studied in Arabic.

“I come from an Arabic language background and finding a job has been a very challenge for me. I have tried several courses but in the end, I decided to enroll in school. I have been facing a challenge because people believe that people from an Arabic language background cannot do anything. Earlier on, I sat for Primary Leaving Exams in Khartoum and scored 52 percent,” she revealed. “I encourage people, especially women who are victims of early marriage, to enroll in adult education. They should be encouraged to study. I also encourage all parents to send their girls to school because if you educate women, you educate the nation.”

Another candidate, Dominic Simon, who suffers from hearing impairment and spoke through a sign language interpreter, said he was ready to sit the examinations although he faced challenges during learning due to a lack of sign language translators.

“In school, we had some challenges but here we are ready to start the examinations. We people living with disabilities have no jobs but we struggle hard to learn because school is for everybody. We have the opportunity to go to school,” he said. “We have communication barriers because sometimes the teachers just enter the class and start teaching without interpreting their lessons. We want interpreters of sign language so that we learn inclusively.”

According to the Ministry of Education, a total of 69,573 candidates, including 38,575 males and 30,998 females, have duly registered for the examinations in 1,665 schools and 551 centers.

The students started the first exams with Christian Religious Education and Islamic Religious Education. On Tuesday, they will be examined in Social Studies, on Wednesday, English Language, on Thursday, and Sciences, and finally Mathematics on Friday.