By Philip Buda Ladu
Roughly 90 out of about 99 primary Eight Candidates groomed in Uganda to sit for the Certificate of Primary Education (CPE) examinations in South Sudan missed the recently completed P.8 exams as they were allegedly, detained briefly in Yumbe District over unclear traveling documents.
The candidates, according to reports had been schooling in Bweyale Town Council in Uganda but were registered under Mangalotore Primary School in Kajo-Keji County, Central Equatoria State. They filled the P.8 exams forms under special arrangements from the national level.
The pupils on their journey were allegedly intercepted by authorities in Yumbe District of Uganda’s West Nile Region when they wanted to enter Kajo-Keji County through Mijale at the Uganda-South Sudan border.
Sources said the candidates including their teacher were briefly detained in Yumbe before being transported back to Bweyale Town but luckily enough a few in a group of 9 pupils managed to twist their route of entry and ended up sitting for their papers in Nimule Town.
Education official in Nimule Town Council confirmed that they received a group of 9 candidates who came from Uganda wanting to sit for the P.8 exams and holding ID cards bearing Mangalotore Primary School in Kajo-Keji County, they had index numbers.
Madam Angelina Achienjo, the Nimule Town Council Education Director spoke to No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper on Wednesday last week.
Achienjo said they started the examination on Monday in Nimule Town Council with a little bit of irregularities but they managed to contain the situation.
“On Monday, the paper started while the children from Uganda arrived, the candidates from Bweyale, they were studying South Sudanese syllabus there that’s all what we know” Madam Achienjo said.
She said by then the pupils from Bweyale used to sit in Nimule for the last three academic years but the Head Teacher decided, to change direction and registered the candidates in Kajo-Keji where they were proposed to sit for their P.8 exams this year.
“According to the candidates that they had been registered in Kajo-Keji and when they were travelling to their destination there they couldn’t reach they were arrested together with their Head Teacher that they were rebels. From the report we got that there were 15 learners who wanted to sit for the papers but when we gathered them, they were 9, five girls and four boys so we gave them the paper and they sat successfully on Monday then on Tuesday another group arrived and then we couldn’t allow the second group to sit because this is national exams.” Achienjo narrated the irregularities.
She said they considered the candidates to sit for the papers based on the evidence that they have their Index Numbers and IDs and that’s when they were ordered from above at least to make them sit the exams that’s why they accepted the help they were supposed to give them.
The 9 candidates from Bweyale who managed to catch up with the examination successfully sat for all their P.8 exams papers at St. Patrick Primary School in Nimule Town Council though it wasn’t their preferred center of exams.
Meanwhile, Taban James the Head Teacher of St. Patrick Primary School confirmed receiving the 9 candidates from Uganda who sat for the P.8 exams including the additional 10 who arrived the following day who were not allowed to sit.
“Those children were supposed to sit in Kajo-Keji according to investigations but they said they were sent back not to pass that side of Kajo-Keji so they happened to come here (Nimule) then on the first day that was Monday they were nine, 5 females and 4 males. They sat then later on also more ten came making 19 but those 10 were sent back because they were late” Taban affirmed.
Taban said they received directives from the Payam to allow the pupils sit if there were extra papers and because they were in uniform and have IDs with the Index Numbers, they gave them the extra papers to sit.
The Head Teacher of St. Patrick Primary School said he had previously received P.8 candidates from Bweyale who sat in his school for the last three years with clear coordination were the candidates’ papers were brought to the school but this year he didn’t receive any notice of the pupils coming to sit in his school.
Taban said when they asked the candidates that reported to his school without any accompanying teacher, they told them that they were 99 pupils in total but the majority were sent back to Bweyale where they came from and only the few came to Nimule on their own.
Luol Garang, a brother to one of the 9 candidates who sat for the primary Eight final exams in Nimule said he was the one who escorted the 9 pupils to St. Patrick Primary School after they bumped to him at home in Nimule.
He said “they narrated their story that they were going to the side of Mangalotore and when they were approaching to crossed over to South Sudan police intercepted that they went out of the camp without permission of the camp leaders and Office of the Prime Minister (OPM). They just go without their documents of travel so they were arrested and returned back to Bweyale taken to police station and the Head Teacher was put in detention and they the pupils were released”.
Garang said having listened to the narrative of the pupils he then took them to St. Patrick Primary School as a center where previous candidates sat their P.8 exams where they managed to sit the exams after some series of coordination with higher authorities.
He said all the candidates are South Sudanese children who went for refuge in Uganda particularly in Bweyale some since 2013 following the onset of the political crisis in the country that started in 2013 adding that they are only P.8 candidates but also S.4 candidates who are prepared to come and sit for the national exams.
Efforts to reach the Ministry of General Education and Instruction for comments on the matter were not immediately successful by press time.