This was to enable them pass their forth-coming UNEB exams. The bishop also blessed the school’s new science laboratories and cautioned students to avoid early relationships but instead concentrate on their studies.
Elsewhere in the same week, students of Victoria School Nansana held duwa prayers for O-level candidates, led by Sheikh Siraje Katangawuzi. The head teacher, Manisul Wasswa Kanyungu, said the school decided to hold duwa prayers for the candidates on their farewell party, instead of the usual disco. At some other schools, religious leaders went as far as blessing the examination halls from where candidates would write their papers.
All this points to something considered important: that prayers and trust in God or Allah can help students pass their exams. Some years ago, I interviewed a number of excelling students, who attributed their success to above all, their devotion to prayers and their faith.
For instance, Ruth Namazzi, the best girl in the 1998 PLE said if it was not for God’s mercy she wouldn’t have scored highly to realize her life long dream of joining Mount St. Mary’s College Namagunga.
In 1997, Abbas Edris Lutaaya of Kibuli Secondary School emerged the 17th best performer in UNEB A’level exams. He attributed his success to a number of factors including having been appointed sheikh of the school (a students’ religious leader).
But can a prayer or devotion to one’s faith really help students pass exams? Pastor Samuel Kyewalyanga of Nazareth Gospel Outreach ministries in Rubaga says there is nothing on planet earth that Jesus can’t grant when requested.
“If you trust in Him and at the same time study really hard you will definitely make it. Jesus helps those that help themselves. Those who don’t put in an effort and at the same time expect prayers to save them are simply wasting their time,” he said.
Sometime back a survey conducted by a religious website, “Freethought”, came up with a view of how much trust born-again students have in a prayer and its capability to work miracles and enable one pass exams with flying colours.
One student strongly believed that God is capable of implanting answers into a believer’s thoughts and controlling one’s actions so that prior to the exams one ends up studying only the specific topics. And that God knew well in advance where questions will be derived from.
Other students believed that God controlled the examining authorities so that they set the questions. He knew in advance that they would have no difficult answering.
Another believed that God magically changes one’s wrong answers (after submission) into correct ones, before they are transported to the examiner’s office for marking.
Most students thought God makes them relax, so they can sit the exam calmly and answer most questions correctly. As for Catholics, St. Joseph of Cupertino is widely invoked to pass exams. His powerful prayer is believed to be effective if said before one appears in the examination room. It goes:
“O great St. Joseph of Cupertino who while on earth did obtain from God the grace to be asked at your examination only the questions you knew, obtain for me a like favour in examination for which I am now preparing. In return I promise to make you known and cause you to be invoked. Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.”
And what do psychologists say about the power of prayers? Dr. Vicki Owens of Makerere University’s department of Psychology once told me how she believed that strong religious students tend to have a purpose in their lives.
She says such students usually fix their target on truly important issues in their lives and strive to do their best for the glory of God. Joseph Kasasa, a religious catechist of Mutundwe agrees. He believes that religious students enter the examination room with settled minds, feel no stress and don’t have to prove themselves.
“They have a pressure-free mentality of being loved by God and in return give Him glory through success.”
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