Best SSCSE students risk missing varsity education

Best SSCSE students risk missing varsity education

When he learnt that he had excelled in the 2020 South Sudan Certificate of Secondary Education, Sebit Justin Sunday was sunk in excitement as hope also filled his thoughts.

Justin’s hard work and prayers at the St. Daniel Comboni Secondary School had paid off, judging from the results that were declared by the Minister of General Education and Instruction Awut Deng Acuil on October 15.

He had become the second-leading student in the SSCSE 2020 and had reached the academic merit of joining a university to pursue Business Administration which is his preferred course. 

 But as days go by, reality has continued to crop in Justin’s mind that he can barely raise fees for his university education.

Speaking to The City Review, Justin reveals that his father who works in one of the banks inspired him to choose the career but a financial impediment now sits between him and success.  

“I might not join the university this year because of inadequate finances. My family promised that I might join next year, however, given the hardship we even had in secondary school where all was put on school fees and little food at home. I think it might not also apply in the case of the university since fees are a huge some altogether,” he laments. 

Justin’s fate reflects a common situation that has befallen 20-year-old Josephine Poni of St. Daniel Comboni Secondary School. Poni emerged the best countrywide in the girls’ category and has a bright academic future on paper save for her financial struggles. Her father died while she was in Primary Six and her mother is unemployed and incapable of raising the fees. 

Widespread problem

Poni tells The City Review that she grew up in the custody of her uncle who is willing to help but is currently overwhelmed by responsibilities. 

“I might join next year although I am not so sure because my [uncle] has a lot of responsibilities. When he heard about the results, he said that maybe next year, you might join the university. I am not sure if I shall achieve my dreams,” she says, adding she is interested in accountancy.

Last week, the leading student in the national exams Joseph Obwony Okic Nyikang of Joshua Okwaci Secondary School in Upper Nile went public to appeal for financial support to pursue his university education.

The 20-year-old Obwony beat the odds of coming from a humble background and scored 95.1 per cent in the 2020 SSCSE exams. He said that he was able to score the highest grade due to his commitment and the quality of teachers in his school.

Obwony is aspiring to become a medical doctor if he gets a scholarship to the university.

“My father died and my mother is not here in Juba, she is in Renk, I am here with my uncle. He has been the one sponsoring my education. He brought me here since 2015 after the outbreak of the war in 2013,” Obwong said in an interview with Eye Radio.

“My uncle’s financial status is not all that good. He has a lot of responsibilities and I am not the only one, he has his children who also need to study,” he narrated. 

In 2016, Obwony was declared the best pupil in the Primary Leaving Examination in the then Jubek State.

As per the information from the website of the University of Juba, it would cost an individual  $250 per semester and at least $500 academic year to study in the local universities.

SSCSE results

The South Sudan Certificate of Secondary Education (SSCSE) results were officially released by the Minister of General Education and Instruction Awut Deng Acuil at Crown Hotel on October 15, 2021.

Joseph Obwany Okic Nyikang from Joseph Okwaci Secondary School in Upper Nile was named the best candidate in the 2020 Certificate of Secondary Education Examinations with 95.1 per cent.

He was followed by Sebit Justin Sunday Lavirick from St. Comboni Secondary School of Central Equatoria State who had a 94.6 per cent mean score while Chiok Otong Liah Chieh from Juba International Secondary School, Central Equatoria State came third with the mean score of 94.4 per cent.

Kiir Kiir Aluetmiir Kiir from Darling Wisdom Academy, Central Equatoria State was in fourth with the same mean score of 94.4 per cent. Deng Chol Deng Chol came from Bor College High School in Jonglei State closed the chart of the five best candidates with a mean score of 94.1 per cent.

The males dominated the top ten slot with only three females: Anna Jumbo Lado Tombe (Juba Diocesan Model) and Elizabeth Luis Mayar (Diocesan Model) and Josephine Poni (St. Daniel Comboni) cutting.

In the girls’ category, Josephine Poni Gwido Swaka from St. Daniel Comboni Secondary School, Central Equatoria topped with a 93.9 per cent mean grade, followed by Anna Jumbo Lado Tombe from Juba Diocesan Model Secondary School, Central Equatoria State with a 93.6 per cent mean score, and Elizabeth Achuil Luis Mayar from Juba Diocesan Model Secondary School, Central Equatoria State with 93.4 per cent mean score.

In the state ranking, the Eastern Equatoria State has been declared the best performing region with a total of 2001 candidates who sat for the examination. The state had the highest performance index nationwide of 79.96 per cent. Jonglei State came second with 2063 registered candidates and 78.11 per cent performance index while Central Equatoria State came in the third position with 12,792 registered candidates and 77.40 per cent performance index.

Ruweng Administrative Area occupied the fourth position having registered 906 candidates with a performance index of 76.63 per cent which was the leading Administrative Area.

There was also a greater emphasis on the performance of girls between 2019 and 2020 where female candidates are noticed to have an increased performance. The males shot up 97.3 per cent in 2020 compared to 92.1 per cent in 2019.