Meet Kenya’s Youngest PhD Holder Who Scored 235 Marks In KCPE.
Every student who grew up in poverty wishes to escape the harsh economic environment and rise like the proverbial Phoenix to a successful career path.
Purity Ngina’s path to greatness appeared to be over after she failed her Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams with a score of 235.
Undaunted, Ngina would eventually shake the ‘failure’ label off her back after becoming the country’s youngest PhD holder in 2018. How did the stars align for the trailblazer?
Ngina’s story begins in Kyeni, Nyeri County, in a small village where she was born.
She grew up in poverty, like many other Kenyans, and was used to doing housework such as fetching water from the River Sagana, which was about three kilometres away from their home. She also walked to school every morning without shoes.
During a previous media interview, she revealed that the difficulties shaped her resolve and determination in life, as she developed a positive attitude toward difficult situations.
“It was beautiful to grow in the village. I think I loved being there. When I compare my life in the village and now, it was better there,“ she stated.
Contrary to her family’s expectations, she sat for her KCPE exams in 2002 and received 235 marks.
Her late mother, dissatisfied with the results, directed the last born in a family of two to resit the exams.
Ngina, seeking to reclaim her academic future, scored 368 points the following year, defying the odds at a time when most people would have written her off.
Ngina’s mother struggled to pay tuition at Tumu Tumu Girls High School in Nyeri during her four-year education.
She, on the other hand, received a B+ (plus) in her Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) and enrolled at Egerton University for a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics.
Ngina was driven by ambition to succeed at any cost, going to any length to study hard in order to pass her exams.
“For fourteen months, I could not sleep without taking something (sleeping pills), but sometimes I would say to myself, I don’t want to take these pills. When I did not take the pills, I spent most of the time on my laptop, and I really worked,” she stated.
Unfortunately, her situation deteriorated after her mother died. This was one of the darkest times in her life, she said.
“Her death made me work even harder because I wanted to prove to myself that as much as she was my greatest pillar, she is gone but still left someone who can stand on her own. It pushed me somehow to even work harder,“ Ngina pointed out.
Ngina earned a full scholarship to pursue a Masters’s degree in Applied Mathematics after receiving a First Class Honours in her bachelor’s in 2013.
Three years later, she enrolled at Strathmore University to study Biomathematics while also working as an assistant lecturer.
Ngina, who is 28 years old, received her PhD in June 2018.
Meet Kenya’s Youngest PhD Holder Who Scored 235 Marks In KCPE