Kenya: Despite Dadaab's Troubles, Refugee Candidate Shines With a Minus in KCSE

Dadaab in Garissa County is known for the tough life and a refugee camp that hosts thousands of Somali nationals who have fled their home country for various reasons, including war.

Life has not been the same for thousands of refugees after the national government renewed threats to close the camp.

The state described the camp as a recruiting ground for Al-Shabaab terrorists and a base for launching violent attacks in Kenya.

On April 8, however, a High Court suspended the government's move to shut down Dadaab and Kakuma camps.

The Interior ministry had given the United Nations refugee agency 14 days to come up with a plan for closing the camps, saying "there was no room for further negotiations".

Read: Kenya sets new date for closure of Dadaab, Kakuma refugee camps

Also read: Kenya to close Kakuma, Dadaab refugee camps by June 2022

Beating the odds

But as the national government continued threatening to close the camp, hundreds of students hosted at the camp registered for the national examinations and when the results were announced on Monday, Gedi Secondary School posted an impressive score.

Registered in 2017, the school started with only 80 students, who have now flown its flag high with good performance in the past two years.

Mr Feisal Gedi, the school's founder and principal, said that despite the long break occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic, the school still managed to post impressive results.

Abdikadir Salat Mohamed, from the Ifo refugee camp, emerged the best candidate in the North Eastern region after scoring an A minus of 79 points.

His parents settled at the camp after fleeing from a war-torn Somalia and Mohamed says the place is home for him.

"I am delighted to have emerged the best in North Eastern despite the many odds we have encountered in the academic calendar," he said.

Software engineering

Mohamed, unlike many other candidates who want to join local universities and pursue different courses, has his eyes fixed on Canada.

"I want to study software engineering but in a university somewhere in Canada. I just want to contribute to building the world," he said without giving reasons why he did not choose a local institution.

He said that despite being alone in the camp, his parents who are far away have been supportive and ensured he got learning materials.

The school posted a mean score of a C+ of 7.41 points after recording one A minus, two B pluses, nine B plains, 11 B minuses, 24 C pluses, 27 C plains, 18 C minuses 10 D pluses, 7 D plains and four D minuses.

Mohmed was followed closely in the region by Mowlid Mohamed Muhumed from Wajir High School, with an A minus of 78 points.

The Dadaab camp in Kenya's east holds more than 200,000 refugees mainly from Somalia.

It has not known peace since the 1991 ouster of long-time dictator Siad Barre.

Gedi Secondary School, just like many others, in the region continues to grapple with a shortage of teachers.

"Our main challenge has been getting good teachers since few are willing to risk their lives to come to this area," the founder said.

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