Top marks for boy who turned blind days before exam

Wednesday January 30 2013

By MAURICE KALUOCH [email protected]

Isaiah Okoth Otieno turned blind a few days to last year’s KCPE exams but braved the odds to post impressive marks in the results released on Monday.

The former pupil at St Patrick’s Makongeni in Homa Bay County emerged top of his class having attained 380 marks, 50 less than the leading candidate in the country.

But as winners celebrated, Otieno was facing the surgeon’s knife to correct hi eyesight.

The results confirmed by the St Patrick’s Makongeni head teacher Benter Nyangi indicate that the boy scored 76 (A-) in English, Kiswahili 75 (A-), Maths 75 (A-), SCI 75 (A-) and SSR 77 (A-).

Otieno achieved the feat with the help of two Standard Seven pupils, George Odhiambo and Rosemary Atieno Nyumba, after approval from the Kenya National Examination Council (Knec).

In the letter dated November 27, 2012, Knec allowed the candidate to get help from the two pupils who read him the questions that he answered.

He was assigned an own classroom with his own invigilator, Mr Richard Osii, who is in charge of Special Need Education for the Visually Impaired Children in Homa Bay District.

The exams council further allocated Otieno 50 extra minutes for each of the KCPE papers.

When the Nation spoke to him earlier about the exams, he exuded confidence that he would pass and achieve his ambition.

Dream to fly

He had hoped to become a pilot before the illness struck.

Sadness and uncertainty had gripped the school last year following the illness that struck their top pupil.

Ms Nyangi had termed the illness as not only a tragedy to the family but the entire school community.

The boy’s mother, Ms Sophie Otieno, who also teaches at St Patrick’s Makongeni, narrated how her son started developing eye problems while he was in Standard Four.

She had dismissed the ailment as a mere allergy since his son would “scratch his eyes now and then”.

When Education minister Mutula Kilonzo finally released the results, Ms Otieno was one of the happiest mothers on Monday when a text message she sent to the exams council revealed her son had passed well.

“I want to state that the good news gave my son who was admitted to Lion’s Eye Hospital in Loresho, Nairobi, a lot of hope in life,” said Ms Otieno, who thanked the Nation for having highlighted her son’s plight.

Following the story, a Good Samaritan offered to pay Sh100,000, part of the Sh200,000 required to perform surgery on one eye.

Otieno, who underwent surgery on one of the eyes on Tuesday, still requires another Sh400,000 to complete the operation.

Ms Otieno appealed to other well wishers to assist his son realise his dream. “I am optimistic that through God’s intervention, my son who has demonstrated through his KCPE results that he wants to be a pilot will realise the dream,” she said.