Rukmini High School Graduates Look To the Future
In Nepal, the School Leaving Examinations, or SLCs as they are known are a series of tests taken by students completing the 10th grade. Every student that is seeking to become a graduate looks forward to the SLCs with a sense of dread and anxiety. For many this is quite possibly the toughest examination of their life. The mixed emotions of anxiety, hope, and fear is insurmountable – as people believe that the results of this exam can make or break you. It is also known as the "iron gates" of education (and life) not only because it is difficult to pass, but also depending on how well you do can determine how far you go. Parents usually put pressure on their kids to not only pass, but to do better than your cousins, or your friends, or your neighbor’s children.
Only between 40-50% of students taking the SLC Examinations pass. Results of these exams are categorized into five divisions according to their score.
- Distinction – above 80%
- First Division – above 60%
- Second Division – above 45%
- Third division – above 32%
- Fail – below 32%
Source – Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_Leaving_Certificate_(Nepal)
The results of 2015 SLCs came out in mid-June of 2015, delayed by the unprecedented disaster of the April earthquake. During this dark period in Nepal, we were very proud to say that all of the Rukmini Scholars who took the exams (8 in total) passed their exams, and did so with flying colors.
These girls made all of us very proud, and probably surprised many who did not think that girls from underprivileged backgrounds could amount to so much. After the results came out, Rukmini Foundation's team in Nepal had the opportunity to meet with all our scholars to celebrate their huge achievement and talk to them about their future plans.
Anju, Jonisha, Rojina, Sonu, Mandira, Anu and Rama from left_ for a group photo Rukmini scholars all smiling to celebrate their SLC scores. Pari is missing from this photo because she moved back to Nuwakot to live with her brother. The 2015 graduating class of Rukmini Scholars.
Anju (Pharping Higher Secondary School) was very proud of receiving a First Division score in her SLC exams and excited about graduation. She comes from a village and community where graduation, especially with such results, is very rare for anybody, let alone a girl. She has gone through more than children should have to go through, but has developed a steely resolve as a result. She is a diligent student, who despite all of the odds, has fought to continue her education, and is now completing something many did not think she would be able to. Her dedication to education is embodied simply by her daily walk to school, which takes nearly 3 hours in total to get to and back. In her village, Anju has become a true role model for other young girls. She fought against early marriage by running away and living with her elder sister in the hope that she would be able to continue going to school. Rukmini Foundation gave her the support she needed and now she has been able to fulfill her dream of finishing secondary school. She now wants to continue her education and plans to join a Management College. She expressed her heartfelt thanks towards Rukmini Foundation for not only supporting her education, but also for being there for her and her family after the earthquake. Anju’s home was destroyed by the devastating earthquake and Rukmini provided her family with relief goods, health services, and temporary shed materials. Anju is looking past her early difficulties and the current devastation towards a brighter future thanks to her education.
Anu (Setidevi Secondary School) from Setidevi Sokhel, has had a great academic record as a Rukmini Scholar. She has received awards for attendance, and based on her SLC Exam scores, that attendance has paid off. Along with excellent attendance, the rigorous test prep program offered by Setidevi School helped Anu and other students who took the course to do well. Anu’s family had to sell one of their livestock in order to pay the 9,600 NRS ($96) fee for this program. Anu asked whether Rukmini Foundation could offer this as a service for students in the future, and we are looking into that as a team. Anu’s scores were the highest of any Rukmini Scholars, and we are all very proud to see her dedication pay off. She was very thankful for Rukmini’s help in taking care of the financial burden of education for her family over the last 2 years, which allowed her to focus on school. She now plans to study Management Studies, and is looking forward to going to college.
Jonisha (Pharping Higher Secondary School) was always afraid of taking exams. She was also very worried about the outcome of her results on her SLC exams. When she found out she got a 2nd division, she was happy, relieved, and did not regret her scores. She is planning to work hard in her future studies and is hoping to study management. She is also very happy she had the opportunity of being a Rukmini Scholar. She said being a Rukmini Scholar was prestigious and she felt very lucky amongst the other students in her class.
Mandira (Setidevi Secondary School) passed her SLC examination from Setidevi School securing a 1st division. She is glad she had the opportunity to call herself a Rukmini Scholar for two years and will write this achievement in her curriculum vitae. Mandira is hopeful this reference will be help her when she pursues future studies. Her dream is to become a Radiographer. She is planning to move to another district to continue her studies. Her enthusiasm and decision to continue her studies shows how much she has grown and the leadership quality she has developed while being a Rukmini Scholar.
Pari Magar (Setidevi Secondary School) lives with her brother and has to travel frequently due to her brother’s job. His brother is a carpenter and has moved around the country quite a bit. Pari joined our partner school Setidevi in Grade 8, and she proved herself to be a very hard worker and studied well. She passed her SLC exams and got a 1st division. She was very happy with her score and was relieved that she was able to stay in Setidevi long enough to take her SLC exams. She has now moved to Nuwakot. She is hoping to join a 10+2 school in Nuwakot, where she plans to study Travel and Tourism. She has expressed deep gratitude towards the foundation and hopes that they continue to support her in her future studies.
Rama (Pharping Higher Secondary School), like our other scholars did very well on the SLC Exams and secured a First Division result. She is very happy with the results and also very thankful towards her school for referring her to Rukmini Foundation for a scholarship. Growing up in a family with three other sisters and a brother, it was very difficult for her family to support her education, but thankfully her school recommended Rama to the foundation, and she and her family did not have to worry about that. She also feels that the confidence she gained by the Didi program allowed her to communicate with her teachers when she faced any difficulties. Rama’s family had wanted her to become a nurse when she started with us, but she thinks she may want to study management next so that she can look at work in different fields. We are so proud to see the growth that Rama has demonstrated, and it is great to see her starting to decide the future she wants for herself.
Rojina (Pharping Higher Secondary School) is a rising academic star who always finished at the top of her class. She has set very high goals for herself, and although her scores in the SLC were excellent, she felt a little disappointed because she expects more form herself. This type of self-belief and drive is what we admire most about Rojina. She plans to work even harder in her future studies to keep improving herself. She is considering studying Hotel Management next, but is not completely sure yet. Rojina feels happy she had the opportunity to become a Rukmini Scholar. She also told us that she enjoyed the Didi Programs and the many extracurricular events held by the Foundation. Rojina also expressed her gratitude towards the Foundation for their support, something she will never forget. She also plans to support girl’s education in future once she is capable, but we believe that she is already doing so by setting a great example.
Sonu is one of the original 10 girls who started in this program. While Sonu got a First Division on her SLC, she is so ambitious that she was not very pleased with her scores. However, she is happy that she crossed the so called ‘iron-gate’ and graduated. She is excited to start her college life and is planning to study Hotel Management in the future. Sonu expressed her thankfulness towards Rukmini team in Nepal and the US for providing her with scholarship. She said that the Foundation not only provided her with financial help, but also gave her many lifelong lessons and leadership skills, which she believes will be very useful to her in the future. Seeing the last of the original 10 girls of our program to graduate is both satisfying and a little emotional for all of us connected with the foundation. Sonu, like the other scholars, have demonstrated such growth in their studies, but more importantly in their attitudes and ability to express themselves. We are tremendously proud of her and all of the other scholars.
Finishing high school and passing the SLC may have seemed like a dream for many of these girls a few years ago, but now they are determined to build on this success and continue their education even beyond high school. The challenge of being able to pay for higher education is still there, but their eyes have been opened now and they want to dream even bigger.
The Rukmini Foundation’s mission is to improve the lives of underprivileged girls by empowering them through a holistic program of quality education, supportive mentoring services and a physical well-being program.