Enid Abampire Niwabiine, a 33-year-old mother of four, and resident of Mukishenyi Village in Ibumba Parish, Rwamucucu Sub-County, Rukiga District, embarked on a remarkable journey today as she sat for her Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) exams.
Enid is a student at Kihanga Secondary School in Rukiga District and rejoined senior four this year, following a 14-year hiatus from her education.
Abampire’s educational journey took an unexpected turn when, in 2008, she dropped out of school during her Senior three year. The death of her father, combined with her mother’s inability to meet her school fees, pushed her into an early marriage.
It’s been a long road, but Abampire’s determination and passion for learning drove her to return to school and complete her Ordinary Level education.
Reflecting on her decision, Abampire noted that she missed out on several opportunities that required an S.4 certificate. Her love for studying and the unfortunate financial circumstances that led to her dropout fueled her desire to continue her education.
Her return to school in 2023 has not been without its challenges. Balancing her studies with the responsibilities of a mother and wife has been a daily struggle. Preparing for her four children, supporting her husband, and working to secure school fees for both herself and her children have made her educational journey all the more demanding. Additionally, studying alongside much younger classmates has presented its own set of challenges.
Enid Abampire Niwabiine is not alone in her pursuit of education later in life. Tumushabe Alex Bruce, aged 32 and a lay leader of Ibugwe Church of Uganda in Ibumba Parish, has also returned to school to sit for his UCE exams at Kihanga Secondary School.
After failing to complete his Senior four in 2011, Tumushabe’s passion for theology inspired him to rejoin school and complete his secondary education.
Onesmus Rukundo, the head teacher of Kihanga Secondary School and UCE Chief supervisor in Rukiga District, expressed that despite the challenges, the school’s determination has been evident in the number of students who showed up for the first paper.
Out of an enrollment of 150 students, 149 were present on exam day. The school also accommodates two married students, two divorced students, and one single mother who are taking their exams alongside their peers.
However, the distribution of exams in schools across the district faced delays due to heavy rainfall. Despite this setback, the commitment of these students to their education remains unwavering. In total, over 345,945 students across Uganda are sitting for the Uganda Certificate Examinations (UCE).