Second Chance Examination for Grade 8 Children – East Jabal Marra, South Darfur
By Elamin Elnour, Communiction/CFCI Assistant, UNICEF Nyala
In early May 2010, UNICEF and the Ministry of Education in South Darfur witnessed the successful completion of one of their goals: to provide second chance examination for East Jabel Marra 8th grade students, who were affected by recent conflict and had lost the opportunity to take the exam that would guarantee their school advancement.
With the strong advocacy of UNICEF's education Cluster and the efforts of the Ministry of Education, and thanks to the support of international donors to our thematic fund, this second chance examination, which took place in Nyala, has been made possible for those children affected by fighting. As this is the first time to have a second chance exam for grade 8 students in South Darfur, children as well as other stakeholders in this endeavour are proud of this achievement.
In a normal situation these children would have taken the exam three months ago in their own schools in east Jabel Marra, but now they are in an exceptional war zone, where violence, conflict, displacement and insecurity about their future has become part of their daily lives. The concerted actions of UNICEF's Education cluster and the local government enabled 304 pupils, including 48 girls, to attend the second chance exam in nearby Nyala town. Unfortunately, around 255 students could not attend due to lack of transportation, caused by sustained fuel shortages in South Darfur state. Current efforts are being made to bring those children the opportunity to continue their path to education.
UNICEF has been advocating for these and all vulnerable children and their fundamental right to education, health, protection and peace. Today they are expressing themselves with their pencils, with a keen desire and an open mind. They are sending a strong message to the global community that they are here, despite the tragedies of violence and conflict, to contribute to future changes in their country, and they are here to claim and exercise their right to education. They were strong enough to make a decision and they arrived to Nyala to take this exam, against all odds, and despite the unpredictable security situation in South Darfur today.
They are here giving a change to hope.
Fourty Eight girls were here being special role models to emphasize girl's education. They were not only sitting for the exam, but also appreciating the sleepless eyes that are paying attention to their needs and helping them to realize their dreams.
They are here because they know that the awareness about their present and the possibilities of their future greatly depend on their education.