A milestone achieved: Pauline sits for her national exams against all odds

Published December 23, 2015 by MNFE Team

after examStudents from the Korr MNFE center pose for a picture afte sitting their national exam.


IT'S THURSDAY 11 AM AT MARSABIT PRIMARY SCHOOL, and pauline ILMONGOY and her fellow students are ECSTATIC. After months of preparation and hard work, the candidates finally sat the examinations for THE KENYA CERTIFICATE OF PRIMARY EDUCATION (KCPE), one of the country’s GREAT education MILESTONEs.

17-year old pauline, who clinches to her two-month old baby Rofu, cannot hider her joy as I approach her. 

Registered as a private candidate under the Mobile Non Formal Education project, this is the second time Pauline is sitting for the National examination. She first attempted the exam in 2013, but failed to proceed to secondary school due to lack of school fees. At the time, she had also just given birth to her first child.

Life has not been easy for Pauline, who was married at a young age and forced to looked after her young children as her husband looked for work. Occasionally her mother would come to offer financial assistance, but most of the time life seemed unbearable.

In March 2014, she learned through her husband of a non-formal education and vocationl skills training program near her home. Pauline enrolled in one of the established centers at Korr and started attending classes in the morning and in the evening when her mother could look after her baby.  Learning at the center takes place throughout the day, to cater for students’ schedules.

Determination in the face of adversity

Things became more challening for Pauline when she lost her mother and became pregnant with her second child. She could no longer attend her classes regularly, and when she did attend she was forced to bring her baby. From the onset, however, Pauline was determined to complete her studies and eventually sit for the national examination. Although this did not come easy, and in September 2015 she had to interrupt her studies again to prepare for the delivery of her second baby, Pauline’s hard work has paid off.

Today, she is happy to have sat the examination and she is confident of obtaining good grades, which will guarantee her a placement in a vocational training institute.

“I am grateful for the opportunity given to me, to sit for this examination again. Come January I look forward to joining a polytechnic to study tailoring and hair dressing and later start a small business to improve the lives of my family and community,” says Pauline with much enthusiasm.