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South Sudan’s best student in Uganda lacks fees

February 28, 2017 (KAMPALA) – It’s a bright Monday morning and as students went shopping for school, John Atem Aguer, Uganda’s best student in the 2016 ordinary level exams, is home.

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John Atem Aguer (Photo by John Pen)

Aguer, a South Sudanese refugee in Uganda, scored aggregate 8 in eight subjects, thus obtaining the maximum scores a candidate is expected to get.

The former student of St. Mary’s Secondary School, Kitende, who can no longer proceed for advanced level education due to lack of fees, now buys simple electronics for a workshop he runs at home.

Aguer’s mother, Elizabeth Achol Makuach, describes his son as a genius, who always took his education very seriously from childhood.

“We could not believe it. I did not know my son would even make it due to the stress he went through from lack or delay of school fees, and then that thing of his,” said Achol, pointing to Aguer’s workshop.

The boy, his mother said, spent most of his home time working on his small gadgets, inventing things she could not even understand.

She said that the teenager grabs any gadget around and begins working on it and that she has to hide her mobile phones at times because her son ought to allocate some good times for his books.

Aguer’s father, Jacob Aguer Atem, is an officer in the peace monitoring unit of the South Sudanese Army (SPLA), assigned to assist the peace keeping force in Wau, a town in Bahr el-Ghazal region.

The ongoing civil war in the country has, however, seen a collapse in the economy, making it hard for Aguer’s father to fend for his family.

Sadly, many South Sudanese families are facing the same situation.

For his advanced level education, Aguer intends to study Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics as well as Information Technology (IT).

This combination, he says, will open him gates to enter any university.

I intend to study Theoretical Physics, Mathematics or Computer Science at the university, he says, stressing his dream of becoming a researcher, computer engineer or a software developer.

But Aguer’s dream could be fading away as he cannot even afford to pay for his admission letter for advanced level education at either Light Academy or St. Mary’s Secondary School, where he sat exams.

Hope, to the 17-year old, should always be kept alive and success, to the 17-year old, comes as no surprise. In 2012, Aguer scored aggregate six, having sat for primary leaving examinations at Kingsway primary school while in primary five.

He is now appealing to any good Samaritan to assist him and ensure he successfully completes his advanced level education in Uganda.

Born in Nimule, a South Sudan-Uganda border town at the heart of the Sudan civil war in 1999, Aguer presently lives in Uganda as a refugee. He is, however, optimistic the war in his country will come to and end.

Meanwhile, Aguer can be reached on +256 783 715 222 for any form of assistance.