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KCPE candidate commits suicide over test

By James Omoro | Published Tue, September 12th 2017 at 10:24, Updated September 12th 2017 at 10:31 GMT +3
Pupil hangs himself for coming second in exam. (Photo: Courtesy)

In summary

  • In a trauma-related mortality study conducted between 2003 and 2008 in Western Kenya, 31 per cent (140) of the deaths were from intentional trauma (assault and suicide)
  • Forty nine of the deaths were categorized as definite suicides, of which 38 (78 per cent) were in males

A Kenya Certificate of Primary Education candidate has allegedly committed suicide in Homa Bay County for not performing well in a test.

The Class Eight pupil at Olodo Primary School was said to have hanged himself in the school compound at the weekend using a sisal rope.

The 15-year-old had been leading his fellow candidates in various internal examinations.

However, when schools reopened for the second term, he was ranked second out of 26 candidates in an internal examination.

Leading candidate

He scored 372 marks while the leading candidate scored 373 marks.

There was speculation that the KCPE candidate was angered by his performance.

On Saturday, he allegedly took a sisal rope at around midday, went to school, and committed suicide in his classroom.

According to the school's headteacher Elisha Nyandege, the boy did not use the main gate because nobody saw him go into the school.

"The security guard called to tell me that the boy had committed suicide. I stopped the duties I was doing in church and rushed to the school. We found him dead," said Mr Nyandege.

Sources said the boy used chalk to write on the blackboard, explaining that he was disappointment with his performance.

The note allegedly said: "Congratulations to all my teachers who have been teaching me since I joined this school. It is not my fault to bid you goodbye but because of unavoidable circumstances, I'm forced to do so. It is useless to live without peace according to my gradual poor performance. To all candidates, best wishes in your exams. We shall meet again."

But the headteacher disagreed that the boy had performed poorly.

KCPE examination

Nyandege said the boy was bright and had been leading in all the exams since he joined the school in second term from Midida Primary School in Migori County, where he had enrolled for the KCPE examination.

"The information I have is that some children reported to his guardians that his academic performance was declining when they saw him become number two. But that is untrue because last time he was number one with 369 marks while this time round he was number two with 372 marks," he said Nyandege.

He speculated that the boy's problems might have emanated from home.

Police investigating

"The boy hails from Migori County but he lived with his aunt in this village. I have been told that he recently sent an SMS telling his father to stop listening to hearsay," said the headteacher.

Homa Bay OCPD Esau Ochorokodi said officers were investigating the incident.

An estimated 16 per cent of Kenyans (7 million) living in rural areas attempt suicide annually.

According to Dr Catherine Mutisya, the head of mental health promotion in the Ministry of Health, the cases were a result of prevailing mental disorder.

This, according to mental health experts, makes suicide the second leading cause of death among people aged between 15 to 29 years globally.

Globally, an estimated 20 million people attempt suicide and on average, 800,000 succeed in taking their lives.

Suicide prevention

Speaking yesterday during the World Suicide Prevention Day in Mathari National Teaching and Referral Hospital in Nairobi, Dr Mutisya said depression, mental disorder, and the sudden death of a family member can cause a suicide attempt.

The head of curative and rehabilitation services, Dr Isaac Odongo, said most suicides occur in low and middle-income countries, where there are huge gaps in health systems and resources, limiting early identification, treatment, and support of people in need.

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