Afghan student tops 2017 College entrance exam

Added On August 9, 2017

The road to higher education has never been easy for students in the war-torn Afghanistan.
CNC has talked to Mohammad Reza Rafat, a 18-year-old student who won the first  place in this year's national college entrance exam.
Here is his story. 
14 years ago, extreme poverty forced Reza and his family to flee from their hometown in central Bamyan province’s Panjab district. They came to Kabul, fighting for a better life. 
To help support the family, Reza started working in a carpet waving industry west of Kabul two years ago.
But he never forgot about his school work, learning from dawn to dust, hoping to get an eligible score for medicine in the public test. 
Sharing the pain of his fellow countrymen, Reza said his dream was to become a doctor to help his suffering citizens.
SOUNDBITE(DARI): MOHAMMAD REZA RAFAT, the No.1 Student in the 2017 Afghanistan College Entrance exam
"So, I decided to study hard to become a cancer surgeon in the future to cure my ailing citizens who spend huge amounts of money for treatment outside the country."
Speaking of his sucess in the exam, Reza said he couldn't believe it when his friend first told him the result. 
SOUNDBITE(DARI): MOHAMMAD REZA RAFAT, the No.1 student in the 2017 Afghanistan college entrance exam
"I didn’t have access to the internet at home and I don't have a mobile phone to check if he was right, so I went to a nearby internet bar to check it out. It was true. I succeeded in securing top position in the entrance exam."
Reza hoped that he could continue his further education in one of the world's most renowned universities, like Oxford. 
And if he couldn't make it, he would choose an Indian or a Turkish university instead.
"According to a report released by an NGO Group this March, more than 400,000 Afghan children were expected to stop attending school this year. In this week just after Reza's exam result published, there were several violence events happened in Kabul, Herat, Paktia and Kandahar which caused over hundred casualties. Reza's story was rewarded and respected in this war torn country, as the most powerful response to these violence events. More and more Afghans realize that the best weapon to against extremism and terrorism is to advocate science and knowledge."