Herat boy gets top score in this year’s university entrance exam

The results of the annual university entrance exam were announced on Saturday with only male students being in the top 10 – a first in the past five years.

The top scorer was Sulaiman Rayan from Herat who came out with 355 points. A Kabul student came in second and another Herat student was third.

For Sulaiman, it was a great achievement, and meant beating “thousands of others”.

“My friends used to tell me that I can [win] but I didn’t expect this, actually because there are many talents,” Sulaiman said.

“I made lots of efforts for this though. I started tutoring programs from the ninth grade,” he said.

His father, Jailani Rayan was equally proud.

“We are seven people in our family. My wife is a teacher. My elder son is a medical student in Turkey. My daughter, Urunus Rayan, is also a medical student. My other son is also a medical student,” said Jailani Rayan.

In the five years from 2017 to 2021, three women came out tops.

In 2018, Tahmina, daughter of Abdul Saboor, got 353.4 points, and was placed first in the university entrance exam for that year.

In 2020, Shamsia, daughter of Mohammad Nasim, got first position by scoring 353.1 in the exam and in 2021, Selgai, the daughter of Musa Khan, scored 352.5 points and was also placed first.

While fewer women sat the 2022 exam, due to restrictions imposed on them by the Taliban, questions have been raised as to why there were no women among the top 10 students in this year’s exam.

Figures provided by the Taliban show that out of 106,000 applicants, at least 86,000 have been enrolled in universities and higher education institutions in the country.

According to organizers of the examination, the enrollment level was higher this year.

“The enrolment this year was 25% higher than previous years,” said Abdul Qadeer Khamosh, head of the national authority for examinations adding that students who passed but did not secure a place at their university faculty of choice, can apply to other faculties that have space available.