His teachers are celebrating but for Samuel Otobi, there’s little reason to rejoice.
By Godfrey Ojore
SOROTI – His teachers are celebrating and are due to hold a party for producing the first Division One pupil in last year’s PLE, but for Samuel Otobi, there’s little reason to rejoice.
The 12-year-old was the only pupil among UPE-aided schools in the entire Gweri sub-county to pass in Division One but he says he is “going nowhere”.
For him, it will be either to “repeat [Primary Seven] for the third time or to go fishing”.
Despite excelling in the 2014 Primary Leaving Examinations, Otobi who attended Opar Primary School in Soroti, knows he will not progress to secondary school because his parents cannot afford to pay school fees for his Senior One studies.
“I can force a smile only to satisfy you,” he tells New Vision’s photographer, “but the fact is I am going nowhere.”
FORCED SMILE: Otobi is lifted off his feet by his joyful colleagues after excelling. (Photo credit: Godfrey Ojore)
He scored aggregate 10 – the best aggregate is four – which is good enough for Division One.
Otobi, who is the seventh born in his family, scored aggregate 19 in the previous PLE (2013) but his parents forced him to repeat because they were unable to raise tuition fees for his secondary school.
He bettered that performance in last year’s exams, but Otobi is resigned to his fate of going no further in his academics.
His peasant father, John Epiru, says he is blessed to have bright children and says he thanks God for that.
“Last year I forced him to repeat because two of his brothers were joining PTC and Agricultural College respectively and the girl he follows was also joining S.1," he said.
Otobi and his father Epiru forged smiles on their faces, but behind those smiles, there lies despair. (Photo credit: Godfrey Ojore)
To supplement the family’s low income, Epiru’s wife brews local brew (ajon) for sale. Educating their children however remains a mountain-climb of a challenge.
Yet luck has not been friendly to them either.
"Last year I registered crop failure because the crops are my source of income towards education of my children. I request any Samaritan to bail me out. If I decide to take him for S.1 then it means one of his brothers has to remain home," Epiru said.
On his part, Otobi dreams of becoming a teacher but such an ambition remains just a fantasy and in the absence of help (a Good Samaritan), his dream will sink in the Awoja swamp where he is resorting to fishing from.
Stephen Egabu, the school head teacher, said that out of 104 pupils who sat for PLE, it's only Otobi they were sure would excel because he had scored 10 aggregates in the Mock exams.
43 of his colleagues passed in Division Two, 33 managed Division Three, 10 got Division Four while the rest failed.
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PLE star to repeat P.7 for third time because of no fees