By Deng Machol
Juba – South Sudan 2018 secondary School Final Examinations has started on Monday all over the country.
The secondary school exams which was originally scheduled for December 03, 2018 but was later pushed to January 14, 2019 due to delay in funds for printing examinations papers.
A total of 23,316 candidates has sat for exams of which 6,333 of them representing 27.2%, are females and 16, 983, which is 72.8%, are males.
The exams commenced in 218 centres across the country. 22,975 of the candidates are in the academic section, while 175 are commerce students and 166 from vocational schools.
The examinations period will run for two weeks, according to the timetable. The examinations are being taken in 30 States and Abyei Administrative Area except two States which did not present any candidate for this year’s examinations.
Maiwut and Latjor States [in former Upper Nile State] did not register any candidate due to insecurity, caused by the ongoing conflict in the country.
However, the Minister of General Education and Instructions, Deng Deng Hoc Yai rang the bell to mark the start of the examinations at Juba Commercial Secondary School, on Monday.
The candidates started the examinations with English Language in the morning and Fine Arts and Design in the afternoon.
Speaking to press, Minister Deng said he is confident [that] the examinations will go on without malpractice.
“I have put in place all the necessary safeguards. The invigilators are aware of the ground rules and they will administer the regulations,” Deng said.
He added they have deployed a national security personnel in every centre as well as CID and police to provide protection and to ensure that the environment is free and safe for examinations.
27 percent of the total number of candidates, which are girls, Deng says “is a very good number.”
South Sudan gained her independence from 2011, though its education system was in Arabic language and now the ministry of education is trying to phase out Arabic language in both primary and secondary school level.
Meanwhile, at least 916 candidates will write their examinations in Arabic language. “These are people who studied in Arabic, many of whom are returning from Sudan, I promised the Parliament that I would give them the same exams in Arabic,” Minister Deng said.
No matter that the world youngest nation had fertile land for agriculture productions. In this secondary school exams, no candidate registered for Agriculture course countrywide whereas166 candidates registered for technical sections and at least 175 registered for commercial sections.
The conflict that broke out in 2013 and again in 2016, has forced half of the country’s populations to sought refuge in UN sites across the country while others went to foreign countries.
Candidates in the UN Protection of Civilians site (PoCs) across the country would also do the examinations in Bor, Bentiu, Malakal and Akobo. In Juba, the candidate from the PoC will write their exams in Buluk and Manateen Centres.
Minister Deng further refuted reports that were widely circulated on the social media that the exam papers have been leaked, and were sold to some candidates.
He said they investigated the matter and found that they were forged exams. “We sent people there and we got the papers they were selling and then we compared with ours, but they are not matching,” Deng said.
He said the examinations were printed under strict supervision of the security organs and distributed by the security organs.
“There is no fear that there will be malpractices. Off course human beings can go against the law and where that happens, we have legal provisions for punishment,” Minister Deng said.