A 14-year old boy, whose parents fled the civil war in southern Somalia two decades ago, has emerged the top student in the just-released Puntland State national examinations.
Shueyb Hassan Ali was named top student by the Puntland education ministry after scoring 676 out of a possible 700 marks in the 2019 exams held in May.
An elated Shueyb told Radio Ergo that he attributed his success to the support of his parents. He also paid tribute to his teachers.
“I am very happy! This was made possible by my parents,” said Shueyb. “They encouraged me at home while the teachers helped me in school.”
Shueyb said he dedicated most of his time to his studies and had prepared well for the exams.
Farhiya Abdi Moalim, Shueyb’s mother, sells clothes in the market. She earns around $27 a month from the business to support the family of eight children. Shuayb’s father is a Koranic teacher.
Shueybhas a brother and sister in primary, and another brother and sister in secondary school. Three other siblings are at home.
The proud mother of this year’s top candidate in Puntland expressed hope that her son would one day transform the family’s fortunes.
“I am happy that my son passed the exam so well. I believe that was due to his hardwork and the investment we have made in him. He is a very serious and committed child, that’s why he even completed reading the Koran twice,” said Farhiya, whose dream is to see Shueybbecome a doctor.
For the last six years, Shueybhas attended Giribleprimary school in Bossaso, where pupils are mostly from poor and displaced families. The school had only 31 candidates entered in this year’s examinations.
Ahmed Samatar Farah, the school principal, commended Shueyb’s success, saying the teachers knew that the boy would pass the examination with flying colours.
“Shueyb started in class three in the 2013-2014 academic year and since then we have been teaching him. He is a good and disciplined student and that helped him so much,” he said.
The principal said 280 out of the 521 pupils at Girible school are from IDP families.
Just hours after the results were published, a local NGO, Tadamun, announced that it will sponsor Shueyb to pursue his secondary school studies.
A total of 10,000 students sat for the exams in Puntland in six subjects: English, Somali, mathematics, science, Arabic religious education, and social studies. The candidates were made up of 5,966 boys (59.59%) and 4,045 girls (40.40%).