Over 50,000 candidates begin Primary Eight exams today

Over 50,000 candidates begin Primary Eight exams today
South Sudanese students taking exams in a past Primary Eight national examination program. [Photo: Courtesy]

At least 53,220 candidates, including 31,232 boys and 21,988 girls, are expected to sit for the Primary Leaving Examination across the country.

Speaking to The City Review yesterday, the Secretary-General of the Examination Council, Simon Nyot Deng, said all the necessary arrangements had been made to ensure the exams kick-off this morning.

He said all pupils across the country were ready to sit for the exams except those in areas where the examination council had failed to reach due to inaccessibility challenges.

“Everything is already done. The logistical distribution has been done all over the country… but we had some challenges in reaching some areas,” said Nyot.

However, he did not disclose the areas where the examination council had failed to deliver the exams.

It remains unclear whether this could be linked to last week’s plane incident in Abyei as well as rampant insecurity in some parts of the Greater Pibor Administrative Area.

Ill-fated cargo plane

Last week, a cargo plane crashed at Agok airfield while distributing papers, preventing it from landing in Lakes State. No casualties were reported.

Besides, the Minister of Information of the Greater Pibor Administrative Area, Jay Adangor, last week warned that an unspecified number of candidates would miss their papers due to recent flooding and increased security threats.

“Candidates are ready and they will take their examinations in Pibor, Pochalla, and Jebel Boma but due to lack of accessibility, places such as Gumuruk and Lekuangole are not going to take part in the examination. Another main reason is insecurity, where people develop fear-based on rumours of imminent attack from the neighbours,’’ said Adangor.

It was also unclear whether some parts of Jonglei would face the same problems as Pibor and Jonglei State, which have seen unprecedented waves of clashes in recent weeks. Youth drawn from both regions have been trading accusations of attacks on each other. So far, the attacks have resulted in the displacement of thousands and the deaths of dozens of people.

An unspecified number of children and women have also been kidnapped, and their whereabouts remain unknown in the Jonglei-Pibor intercommunal fighting.

According to Mr Adangor, the two counties could not be accessed by land due to a lack of roads connecting the areas with the Pibor Administrative Area capital. He called on the national government and humanitarian agencies to construct roads in the region to prevent a future similar occurrence.

“Our problem is lack of infrastructure. There is no road between Pibor and Gumuruk or Lekuangole. We appeal to the national government to prioritise road projects in the area to de-escalate tension in Greater Pibor Administrative Area,” he said.

Like many parts of South Sudan, Pochalla and Dumuruk have also been severely affected by the recent flooding that prevented access to scarce learning facilities, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Adangor.

According to the Ministry of General Education and Instruction’s earlier announcement, 53,220 candidates including 31,232 boys and 21,988 girls will be expected to take the exams.

Last year, hundreds of students missed examinations in some parts of the country, including in Warrap State and parts of greater Upper Nile State due to logistical challenges.