South Sudanese Girl in Kakuma Shines in Kenya’s National Examination
She had scored 418 marks out of the possible 500 marks. The leading candidate in the country scored 453 marks.
“I love solving mathematical equations and I want to be an accountant in future, says 16 year old Juk Mabior Kuai, the best refugee student in Kakuma, Turkana County ©UNHCR/Samuel Otieno
For the fourth year in a row, refugees in Kakuma refugee camp continue to shine in Kenya’s National Examinations (KCPE)
A day after the Kenya Ministry of Education announced KCPE examination results, refugee learners in Kakuma went into celebration mode.
Juk Mabior Kuai received a text, on her aunt’s mobile phone, with her Kenya Certificate for Primary Education (KCPE) examination results. She had scored 418 marks out of the possible 500 marks. The leading candidate in the country scored 453 marks. Juk is among the over 12,273 candidates countrywide who scored above 400 marks. This represents 1.2% of the over 1 million learners who were tested in 2018.
I love solving mathematical equations and I want to be an accountant in future
“I scored 96 (out of the possible 100) marks in mathematics. I am not sure how I missed the 4 marks. But I am happy with my overall performance,” says 16-year-old Juk Mabior Kuai.
5,842 learners from the refugee and host community sat for the 2018 national examinations in UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, supported schools in Kakuma camp and Kalobeyei settlement.
Juk is hopeful that she will join one of Kenya’s top national schools, the Alliance Girls High School, and attain her dream of becoming an accountant after completing her education.
“I love solving mathematical equations and I want to be an accountant in future.” She says.
Juk was born in Kakuma refugee camp in 2002. Her parents are originally from Bor town, the Capital of Jonglei State, in South Sudan. She attended school in Shambe Primary School in Kakuma refugee camp, and was later admitted to the only primary boarding school facility for girls – Angelina Jolie Primary School.
“My former school was congested with over 100 pupils in a classroom. I could not concentrate well in class and the teachers did not give us much attention because there were too many of us in a class.”
Juk’s success certainly did not come easy. She had to put in extra hours in school to read
Congestion in schools, insufficient numbers of trained teachers, and insufficient teaching and learning materials are among the many challenges facing refugee learners. But despite the challenges, refugee children have posted impressive performance in the Kenyan national examinations, both at County and National levels.
Juk’s success certainly did not come easy. She had to put in extra hours in school to read. She admits that being in a boarding school provided her with the environment and facilities that enabled her to study well. Over 11 refugee candidates in Kakuma refugee camp scored above 400 marks including four other girls from Juk’s school – Angelina Jolie Primary Girls Boarding School run by UNHCR partner for Education, The Lutheran World Federation.
UNHCR is committed to turning the tide to enable refugees to get the education they deserve
Mohamud Hure, Education Officer for UNHCR, says, “Juk’s excellent performance is a testimony to the resilience of refugee children and while we celebrate this incredible success, we need to move to improve schooling experiences for refugee children. UNHCR is committed to turning the tide to enable refugees to get the education they deserve.
Juk’s aunt, 28-year-old Rachael Agok, describes Juk as a role model, shy and a well-disciplined girl who reads a lot and is always willing to tutor her younger siblings.
“When schools are on holidays, Juk is always in the compound helping with chores and playing with her friends. She performs well in school and is always among the top in her class.”
When we received Juk’s KCPE results, I immediately called Juk’s mother with the good news
Juk’s parents returned to South Sudan from Kakuma camp in 2007 when she was only five years old, leaving her in the care of her aunt, Rachel, who was 17 at the time. Her love for education was evident from an early age, which obliged her parents to leave her behind as they voluntarily repatriated to their home country.
Rachael says. “When we received Juk’s KCPE results, I immediately called Juk’s mother with the good news. I used the only Ksh 200 (U$ 2) I had as the news was worth it.”
Refugees record an average pass rate of 88% in Primary National examinations against 76% national average. Currently, there are 26 Primary Schools in Kakuma camp and Kalobeyei Settlement that offers vital education to refugees and host community.