They passed exams highly, but where are they?

Thursday February 11 2010


Where do all the students who excel in examinations end up? Do those with top grades always go on to find professional success?

Starting Wednesday, Daily Monitor will provide answers to these and other questions in a new, captivating series about Uganda’s education sector.

Our reporters have tracked down many of the country’s top performers in national examinations from as far back as 1970.

Many are stories of personal triumph over adversity, others a walk through the park but they all offer important lessons about what it takes to succeed – and stay on top of one’s chosen profession.

The stories of the best performers will run alongside other stories in which Daily Monitor conducts a critical analysis of Uganda’s education system in an effort to assess whether it meets the demands of the professional world and the society they live in.


Monitor Publications Managing Editor Daniel Kalinaki said while the series, named “Project Success”, highlights the success stories of past top performers to show that education is important, it also aims to show that grades are not everything.

“We are doing this series now to help the government, school administrators and parents look beyond the grades as a determinant of success and encourage them to look towards knowledge,” he said. “Good students get good grades but only great students can transform them into successful professional careers; a good showing in an exam is not an end in itself but just another means to an end.”

Project Success, which will run on week days, starts with the story of Johnson Kwesigabo, who overcame insurmountable odds to top the charts in the Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education exams of 1986. He used that success as a springboard to achieve even bigger things in life. His story runs alongside a critique of the government’s “Vision 2035”, which offers a blueprint of the government’s education targets within the next 30 years.

The new series is running in a year when Monitor Publications Ltd, a Nation Media Group company, starts offering scholarships to 24 of the best-performing Primary Leaving Examinations candidates in the country.

The beneficiaries, who were announced yesterday, have been equitably selected from every one of the country’s four regions, with three boys and three girls each from central, eastern, western and northern regions.

The MPL Managing Director, Dr Githinji Gitahi, said while launching the Monitor Mentorship and Excellence Awards Scheme late last year that the number of beneficiaries will continue to grow by 24 every year.
Beneficiaries will receive school fees throughout Ordinary Level, as well as regular career guidance and mentorship during their holidays, including on-the-job training at MPL and placements at other organisations within Uganda.

Project Success is the second series that Daily Monitor is launching in two months. The other project, named ‘Road to 2011’, offers insightful analysis on aspirants vying to represent their different constituencies in the Ninth parliament, whose elections take place early next year. Road to 2011 has been running since November 24, 2009 – first weekly and now bi-weekly.