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Class 8 candidate goes blind days before KCPE, misses exams

Stella Vaati, is a KCPE candidate at Kisole Primary School in Kitui County with her mother Kathini Maluki at Mwingi level IV hospital. The girl has gone blind, forcing her to miss her KCPE exams. [Philip Muasya, Standard]

Stella Vaati, 15, casts a forlorn look at her hospital bed at Mwingi Level IV Hospital where she sits idle most of the day even as her peers write their 2021 KCPE exams.

Unlike other candidates who are busy writing their exams, Vaati is not able to do her exams after she went blind.

The 2021 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) started on Monday morning with 1,225,693 candidates expected to undertake the exams.

The Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) said this represents a 2.86 per cent increase from last year's KCPE candidate population registered for the national test.

This means that 34,085 more candidates are sitting this year's KCPE compared to last year.

The examination is taking place in 28,248 exam centres across the country and being supervised by 242,406 teachers assigned by the Teachers Service Commission.

A few days to the examination day, Stella Vaati whose name means luck lost her sight, reportedly due to a tumour in her brain.

The Kisole Primary School pupil in Mwingi Central is now blind and has to rely on the help of her mother in all that she does.

"She has been complaining of a constant headache in the recent past. I used to buy her pain killers but when the pain persisted I brought her to the hospital," says Kathini Maluki, the girl's mother.

That was about eight days ago, and she was hoping the daughter would be discharged in time to sit for her exams. Then misfortune struck, she went blind.

The hospital superintendent Dr Evans Mumo has told The Standard that the girl's condition is serious, adding that they have referred her to Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) for specialised treatment.

"Our tests show a brain tumour, that is what has possibly led to her loss of sight. A more advanced facility would be able to help her," Mumo said.

The hospital is only managing her with a cocktail of painkillers as it has no capacity to remove the tumour.

Mwingi Central Deputy County Commissioner Solomon Komen said he tried to intervene and have the girl sit for her exams from the hospital bed but she was unable to since she cannot see.

Vaati has not lost hope though. She told The Standard, "I was ready, and I'm willing to do the exams if only I could regain my sight”.

Her mother, who is a widow is now appealing for help to have her daughter treated, and possibly do her exams, even if it is later in the year.

"I cannot afford her treatment at Kenyatta hospital. I'm just a struggling widow with other children to take care of," she said.