Nicoué Peace Delaly Afoutou successfully passed the national examination for higher education. Photo: Twitter/ kady_diatou
Nicoué Peace Delaly Afoutou, an 11 year-old boy from Benin Republic sat for and passed baccalaureate exams, usually taken by students who are between 16 to 18 years old. Baccalaureate exams are the equivalent of matric exams in South Africa or Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) in Kenya, or West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in West Africa.
It took the intervention of the government, which included an exchange between the Council of Ministers and the Head of State to allow Delaly to sit for the exam. Delaly was considered too young for the exam and if not for the open letter written by his parents to the Head of State he would have missed the exam. Kouété Nicoué Afoutou, Delaly’s father, met with the Director of the Baccalaureate Office who explained that there is a law of orientation, which states that a child cannot undergo mental and psychological tension. Afoutou explained that by the age of four, his son did not follow the normal school calendar and could speak both English and French fluently. At nine years, Delaly picked up his BEPC, (Brevet d’études du premier cycle du second degré). The BEPC is the exam that allows candidates to graduate from junior high school. Due to the different education system, the BEPC also allows you to work at a certain level of government jobs throughout the country and opens many doors. Some students write the BEPC exam five to six times.
Despite all the evidence of brilliance Delaly showed, he was not automatically accepted for enrolment into a public education institution on the grounds that he was too young to attend the courses. At age 10, Delaly started the Terminale, the terminal class is specific to the chosen pathway. Each terminal student also chooses a specialty course in this field. At the end of the year, the baccalaureate exams take place. The Terminale is divided into the literary terminale, the economic and social terminale and the scientific terminale. Delaly had an average of 14 and 15, thus making him qualify for the baccalaureate.
Nicoué Peace Delaly with is father Kouété Nicoué Afoutou, 11 years old, took his baccalaureate session of June 2017 with an average of 10,64 20 Photo: Twitter/princeimou
The Director of the Baccalaureate Office, Alphonse da Silva said there are geniuses everywhere, and we must not prevent him from growing up. “He may be a future scholar of Benin, and I think the president has been touched by that. We have to give him a chance. I received it and kissed it like a child. Everyone was moved. I think he is in good predisposition to compose at the replacement session,”da Silva said. According to the law of orientation, the learner must evolve according to the curriculum reserved for kindergarten, elementary and secondary that lasts 13 years of studies. But, according to the Director of baccalaureate, the exception often makes the rule. “There is the law, and there is the spirit of the law. This is an exceptional case, we must encourage this young boy,” he argues.
If given the necessary support, Delaly could end up being one of Africa’s youngest scholars following in the footsteps of 23-year-old Musawenkosi Saurombe, Africa’s youngest PhD holder.