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DR Congo: Displaced students in North Kivu ready for state exam despite raging conflict

DR Congo: Displaced students in North Kivu ready for state exam despite raging conflict

In Nyiragongo, Goma, a major town in the troubled eastern region of North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a school has been prepared to serve as the examination center for displaced students.

Following a recent escalation in fighting between M23 rebels and Congolese army forces, many students from Rutshuru and Kibumba were forced to flee their towns. Now, despite the trauma of conflict, some of these young people are gearing up to take a crucial exam far away from

home.

Twenty-year-old Tushimwe Florent is among those preparing for the exam at the newly designated center. However, memories of the atrocities in Kibumba, now under M23 control, continue to haunt him.

Having escaped the war the previous year, he is determined to summon the strength to pass his exam and obtain his baccalaureate.

“I have no choice but to take the exam here because the situation in Kibumba is dire. Here, we can focus on our studies without the fear of war. The government has waived the registration fees,” explains Tushimwe Florent.

Thousands of students are expected to gather in Nyiragongo for this state exam. However, several hundred finalists who remain in areas under M23 occupation are unable to access these tests.

Local authorities express deep concern over the situation, highlighting the uncertain academic future of these students, especially as some are reportedly joining the army or patriotic movements to defend their towns.

“After the inspector in charge of the file checked the register, there were around 2,000 students. Some have dropped out, while others have joined the Wazalendo group to serve the country. They have deemed it necessary to serve the country, and we cannot condemn them for that,” says Babi Kisuka, responsible for Primary, Secondary, and Technical Education (EPST) in Nyiragongo, the organizers of the out-of-session State Examinations.

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