Uganda : Embracing Success Beyond Grades

In Uganda, the Primary Leaving Examination (PLE) is a pivotal moment in the academic journey of every young student. 

This national examination, typically taken at the end of primary school, serves as a significant milestone, determining the future academic and career paths of students across the country. For many pupils, it is a culmination of years of hard work, dedication, and aspirations for success.

Cynthia and Joan, two bright and determined young girls, recently sat for their PLE examinations with high hopes and ambitions. They poured their hearts and souls into their studies, diligently preparing for the rigorous tests that awaited them. As the examination results were announced, excitement and anticipation filled the air, with students eagerly awaiting their grades.

However, when the results were finally unveiled, Cynthia and Joan found themselves in a bewildering situation. Despite their admirable efforts and impressive scores of 13 and 14, respectively, they were the only two students in their class to receive a second-grade classification. The rest of their classmates, a total of 32 pupils, had achieved first-grade honors and were celebrated with great fanfare and jubilation.

The disparity in recognition left Cynthia and Joan feeling awkward and unappreciated, as they watched their peers bask in the glory of their academic achievements. 

« It’s disheartening to see everyone being celebrated while we’re left feeling like we don’t matter, » shared Cynthia, her voice tinged with disappointment. Joan echoed her sentiments, expressing how it made her question her worth as a student.

Their parents also shared in their disappointment and frustration, questioning the fairness and inclusivity of the congratulatory festivities. They expressed concern over the harmful impact of such discriminatory practices on the self-esteem and confidence of their daughters, emphasizing the importance of recognizing and celebrating every student’s achievements, regardless of their academic classification.

Every child deserves to be celebrated for their achievements, regardless of their grade, » says Mr. Walter, Cynthia’s father, emphasizing the importance of inclusivity and support in nurturing young minds. Joan’s mother Esther Achan echoed similar sentiments, emphasizing the need for a more compassionate approach to recognizing academic accomplishments.

Cythia and Joan’s experience sheds light on the complexities and disparities present within the educational system, particularly in the aftermath of examination results. It underscores the importance of celebrating all forms of achievement and fostering an environment that values and appreciates the diverse talents and efforts of every student. As we reflect on their story, let us strive to create a more equitable and inclusive educational landscape where every student is celebrated and supported on their journey towards success.

Ruth Atim


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