By: Muhammed Lamin Drammeh
Despite helping her single mother on the farm, studying in the dark without electricity, and walking 2 kilometres to school, 19-year-old Kumba Sowe from Simbara Khai Village in the Central River Region has become the first student in Kaur Senior Secondary School’s history to achieve at least a credit in all subjects in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). This year, Kumba achieved nine credits, including 3As and 4Bs, which ended the school’s 28-year search for such achievement since its establishment in 1995.
Kumba resides in the agricultural community of Simbara Khai in the northern region of the Central River Area. Her village is not equipped with electricity. Sadly, Kumba’s father passed away when she was in fourth grade, and her mother, Batorr Faal, has been raising her and her siblings as a single parent ever since.
According to her mother, taking care of the family has been challenging since her husband’s passing. Despite the difficulties, Batorr Faal is grateful and optimistic about her daughter’s future.
Kumba, whose result will remain in the annals of the school’s history for being the first student to graduate with nine credits in an external examination, said she laboured so hard for this grade, juggling her house chores, helping her mother on the farm, to reading her books at night using candles and walking for two kilometres to school.
“As the only daughter living with my mother at Simbara Khai, I had to allocate time for the house chores and reading my books, doing my assignments and solving questions using past papers. It was not easy for me as a girl, travelling two kilometres to and fro school daily. I knew I needed to read and read,” Kumba told The Fatu Network.
The 19-year-old acknowledged the efforts of the school and its staff for playing a key role in helping her score nine credits.
“The kind of learning at Kaur Senior Secondary School also prepared us a great deal. Imagine, we had extension classes from 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. We had Saturday classes and night classes as well. All for free! No payment!
“The attention we received from the principal and teacher was spectacular. Kaur SSS has the most hardworking teachers you can ever find. We owe the school a lot. The school provided me with all the learning materials required to these impressive results. Without those learning materials, it would not have been this impressive. I thank the principal for everything,” she said.
With this magnificent result, Kumba said she would like to go to the University of the Gambia to pursue a degree in Nursing. Her dream is to make her mother proud, who has been supportive of her as a village girl pursuing her dream.
Mr. Amet Jeng Sey, the Principal of Kaur Senior Secondary School, attributed the school’s achievement of nine credits for the first time in its history to the hard work and dedication of the school’s teachers.
“This is an achievement borne out of hard work and dedication from my young and indefatigable teachers and brilliant students. This has always been my dream. With an established administration and teaching staff in the school, more such results will be seen. This is the result of concerted efforts,” the principal said.
Kaur Senior Secondary School is located approximately 147 kilometres away from Banjul. The school admits students who did not perform well in WEAC standards and helps them improve their academic performance. It is the largest senior school in CRR North.
Notable figures who graduated from Kaur Senior Secondary School include the current National Assembly Member of Lower Saloum, the Chairman of Kuntaur Area Council, the former Minority Leader (Samba Jallow, Ansumana MS Keita), the former Deputy Governor of CRR, and a current Lecturer at the Gambia College.