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Deaf University Dropout Gives UACE Second Shot to Secure Gov’t Scholarship

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Ogwang says he was studying from an inclusive school from Lango College in Lira District where he scored 12 points from PCM/ICT (Physic, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Computer). For a deaf student, this would have been enough for him to secure a government scholarship.
Alex Ongwag, 23, a student with a hearing impairment, dropped out university in 2017, but he is yet to give up on dream. He has Given UACE a Second Shot so as to secure a government scholarship
Alex Ogwang is one of the candidates sitting the ongoing Uganda Advanced Certification Education-UACE exams at Wakiso Secondary School for the deaf. Ogwang’s mission is to score highly and secure a government scholarship to University.  

He dropped out of Kyambogo University in 2017 where he was pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering because his parents couldn’t afford the tuition. On Tuesday this week, Ogwang stood firmly in the laboratory mixing several chemicals in a-four-hour practical chemistry paper to fight for his dream.  

Ogwang says he was studying from an inclusive school from Lango College in Lira District where he scored 12 points from PCM/ICT (Physic, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Computer). For a deaf student, this would have been enough for him to secure a government scholarship.

Unfortunately by the time of filling the Public University Joint Admission Board-PUJAB forms he hadn’t secured an audiogram, which could prove that he was deaf.  “I had never heard of such requirement by the way. I even never knew that there are schools for deaf people. I had to fill the form just like any other person,” Ogwang signed as Stella Nantongo interpreted.   

Ogwang’s second option was to apply for a loan from the student’s loan scheme but he still wasn’t lucky enough.  This forced his parents to sell part of their land and some properties to ensure that he goes to the university.   

“I never stopped to look for scholarships. I moved to different NGOs supporting persons with disabilities all in vain. After completing my first year at Kyambogo University, my parents could no longer sustain me at school,” he signed with tears rolling down his cheeks.    

 

As he was planning to give up, he was informed that the Madhvani Foundation had granted him a scholarship. However, his performance had declined as he had spent lots of effort looking for support at the expense of academics. The scholarship was canceled because of failure to meet the academics requirements when he got a retake.  

Ogwanga hit a dead end and dropped out of university in 2017. However, while interacting with an official from the National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU), he learnt that there were government scholarships reserved for the deaf. 

In 2018, he decided to repeat senior six so that he attains the scholarships reserved for the deaf. Wakiso School of deaf welcomed him with open hands at the beginning of this year and allowed him to enroll without paying a penny.    

Ogwang is the only student out of the eight students writing their examination at the center offering science subjects. “It has not been an easy task, I had to remember things I had studied some years ago,” he said through the interpreter.    

He noted that he studied from inclusive schools in his earlier education where he mastered lip reading but had to learn sign language this because it is the mode of communication at the school. Ogwang is optimistic that he will perform well and get back to campus to take any engineering course the university will be willing to give him.

He says despite his impairment, he can make an impact on society.