Fourteen-year-old Elizabeth Namiiro sat her primary school exit exam in 2018 — the Primary Leaving Exam (PLE). Success in your PLE determines your eligibility for secondary school in Uganda — fortunately, Elizabeth achieved one of the best results, a Division 1 score from a total of 11 aggregate, which means she could go on to a top secondary school.
To understand just how good Elizabeth’s result is means understanding the complicated PLE marking system. It’s divided into five Divisions: 1, 2, 3, 4 & U; Division 1 is the best. The Division a child is placed in is determined by the number of aggregate (4 – 36) they get across four subjects: English, Maths, Science and, Social Studies. The lower a child’s aggregate, the better their score and Division.
Growing up in Magamaga, in the Mayuge District of eastern Uganda — a traditionally poorer area of the country — Elizabeth would have been aware of the limited opportunities for her, and others, to realise their potential and escape the daily poverty their communities live in.
Born to casual farming parents, she could have reasonably expected to drop out of school to get married or because she was pregnant. Currently, nearly half of all girls in Uganda are married by the time they are 18; 1 in 10 before the age of 15-years-old. Even higher in the eastern Districts.
Luckily, Elizabeth’s future looks very different. Instead, she was the first in her family to complete primary school, and sit the PLE. The first to have a possible future outside what she was born in to. She dreams of making a better life for herself and her family and, hopes to become an accountant when she’s older. She says: “All my family are so proud of me, all my hard work has paid off!”
At her Bridge school, Elizabeth has had the opportunity to fulfil her potential. Laughingly she adds, “At my school, I learned how to speak English. Now, I can speak to people from all over Uganda… even the world! It means I can access so much more information, like reading new books. The world has opened up to me.”
Congratulations, Elizabeth! Your future is bright. Read more about our impact in Uganda here.