With the cycling expedition to the North Cape, Reach Out raised enough funds in 2018 to send the three selected candidate-students, Cipriano, Carlos and Anita, to high school. Carlos and Anita, however, did not pass the entrance examination. Cipriano obtained 65 percent, but he was not admitted either because the school had only 30 free places for many times more candidates. Cipriano was not among these elite students…
It was clear our candidates did not make much of a chance at a Guinean high school. First, this shows that secondary education on the Bijagos archipelago is substandard and that an initiative like Reach Out is highly necessary. The only secondary school on the main island of Bubaque is too small for the number of pupils attending, so the school decided to institute two shifts: one in the morning and another one in the afternoon. This means Bubaque pupils receive education on a halftime basis, whereas their mainland counterparts whom they have to compete with at the exam followed courses on a fulltime basis.
Secondly, it shows that we had been too optimistic about our students’ starting positions. They will need more coaching to get ready for the exam.
Fortunately, N’dao Mamadou, No Pega Mon’s local chargé d’affaires, managed to enroll Cipriano at a special training in Bissau, the capital of Guinea Bissau on the mainland, that will prepare him for the high school entrance examination. After this intensive training, Cipriano will already have a certificate of teacher of the Portuguese language. In 2019, we hope this will enable him to successfully take the entrance exam and embark on the high-level teacher course.